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Less is More

Teyang is a home-grown Nepali fashion label which has been working to create sustainable and ethical fashion. In a conversation with the designer/founder Tenzing Yangkyi Shrestha, Sachitra Gurung finds out how she works on producing this responsible line of beautiful clothing. Excerpts:

How did your passion for fashion begin?

I always loved sketching. When I was 12 years old someone asked me if I wanted to become a fashion designer? I did not know the exact work of a fashion designer, so I did a bit of a research. I liked the idea and aspired to become one. I pursed my fashion designing course from the United Kingdom and did a two-year internship before starting my own label. Although it was very different than what I imagined it to be, I love what I do.

What does Teyang stand for?

Teyang is my nickname. I want to keep my label simple. I come from a multicultural background of Tibetans and Newars. I chose Teyang because it allows me the opportunity to break free from being identified as a Nepali or Tibetan designer.

Do you believe in following trends?

It depends on the person; For some, it might not be necessary whereas for others it might be very important. I personally don’t believe in following or not following trends, I’ve just always been obsessed with oversized garments.

How important is it for you to make pieces that are wearable?

I started off by making easy to wear pieces targeted towards middle-aged women. Each time I create an outfit, I listen to my customer. I don’t want to go overboard with designs as I have come to realise that it’s not what people look for. Comfort, practicality and flexibility are the things I keep in mind while designing. I concentrate more on high-quality fabrics and good finishing.

What is one accessory that you feel goes well with a minimal ensemble?

A nice watch, for both men and women, it looks good and is practical as well.

For this season do you have any specific fabric, material or pattern that you want to experiment with?

Currently, we are not experimenting at all. In my previous collection, I have experimented enough with fabrics. I want my brand to be strictly vegan, so I don’t want to take the risk of working with different materials. I want to stick to cotton and gradually move towards organic and synthetic free fabrics.

What made you go for organic fabrics?

I am very concerned about what I am putting out there. When you are involved in production you realise how much waste there is. I don’t want to take part in contributing to the waste. By choosing organic fabrics, I am helping make things slightly better.

How practical is it to implement sustainable fashion?

It’s really difficult to implement. Fashion is an ever-changing industry, as there are many collections in a season. People prefer something that’s cheaper and easily available. Good quality organic fabric is comparatively expensive and many people do not want to invest it. Also, most available materials and resources are synthetic. However, in the end, it is worth it all as you are making the environment better. Also, nowadays there is a large number of people who are aware and concerned about how ethically their clothes are made.

What can we expect from your Spring/Summer 2018 collection?

A lot of cotton shirts.

One aesthetic element that you like to keep constant through all your collections…

Minimalism, minimalism and minimalism

A fashion trend that makes you cringe…
Belt waistbands

Your fashion inspiration
Yohji Yamamoto, a Japanese designer. He was the first designer I was introduced to during college, and he has been a huge inspiration.

What helps you get in the zone while designing?
The pattern cutting.

Advice for budding designers…
Focus on your strongest point and work on that. Find your niche and your style. Do not be all over the place; designing lehengas, dresses, trousers and office wear all at once.