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The art of Aakash

Text by: Sachitra Gurung

Although Aakash Shrestha has been in the industry for more than a decade, he prefers to maintain a low profile. Yet, his astonishing creations do not go unnoticed. He has been bringing together graceful silhouettes with experimental styles and patterns. Currently, he is busy working on his new Spring/Summer collection. Excerpts of a conversation with the designer

What made you take upon fashion designing?

As a child, I was fascinated by art as it helped soothe and balance my emotions. When I was growing up, I got to explore, emerge and evolve in creative arts in some form or the other. As a teenager, internet and mass media boomed rapidly and helped me learn how the fashion industry worked. I found fashion to be the best platform to express myself and my ideas. As a self-practitioner, I started fashion as a new art. It became a bridge for me to continue to explore my creative side. I have had no formal background in fashion, yet I focused on creating beautiful outfits based on inspiration.

The increasing exposure of the internet and media provided me with many resources to research and learn new techniques. Later, I decided to study a course in fashion and went to Paris. This helped to broaden my view and made me more passionate about creating designs based on stronger aesthetics, with an essence of my own story.

How would you describe your style?

My style is inspired by post renaissance eras, the Victorian and art deco of the mid 19th-century industrialisation. Thus, my designs are based on classic silhouettes with a uniquely creative amalgamation of savoir-faire of French couture with the eastern ethos of art fashion and culture.

Five pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe

Floral printed sarees, power suit, little black dress, a pair of good jeans and heels. Other than clothing, deep red lipstick and statement earpiece are a must.

Your biggest fashion pet peeve

One would be teenagers overdoing the Korean fashion influence; it’s definitely cringe-worthy. Another one would be girls trying to look glamorous like Bollywood starlets in glitzy lehenga choli without keeping their body type in consideration.

Current trend that you are addicted to

Sporty joggers and printed sweatshirt, I even wear it while at work.

An overrated fashion trend

To name a few it would be the rapidly growing trend of lehenga cholis, readymade western wears and the combination of vintage and art deco floral prints on almost every outfit.

Celebrities you would love to style

There is a very long list but some of them are Malvika Subba, Nagma Shrestha, Anmol KC, Anuradha Koirala, Priyanka Chopra, Rekha, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Gal Gadot, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Gosling and Angelina Jolie.

Your inspiration while growing up

Since I had limited access to the mass media, I did not know many big brands or reputed fashion icons. So for me, it was the Bollywood stars and my mum. My mum’s collection of printed chiffon and colourful rayon sarees, passion for sewing, clean elegant makeup and the drive to click the perfect photo with the right backdrop intrigued my love for fashion and art.

What would you say was the biggest set back of your career?

It would be the first few months when I returned from Paris in 2015. I was confused and having difficulties about resuming my work and introducing my post study design aesthetics. Since traditional Indian wear and Korean fashion was dominant and deeply influencing the ready to wear market, it was a bit difficult to introduce my designs. However, with time (and tactics) I was able to surpass those hurdles.

What similarities or differences do you find in the fashion scene of Nepal and Paris?

As the internet and social media is constantly influencing lives, consumers in Nepal have moved towards more luxurious designs. Also, with the rise in purchasing power, many are now opting for designer wear or imported readymade outfits. Furthermore, the concept of minimalism—’less is more ‘; classy vintage silhouettes are also taking over the market. Thus, it can be said that globalisation has brought some similarities in the fashion scenes of Paris and Nepal.

What helps you get in the zone when you’re designing?

Classical Indian music and western operatic tunes help to calm me and increase my concentration. Keeping interesting and inspiring artwork in my workspace also helps.

When are you planning to launch your new collection?

I am planning to launch my spring/summer collection 2018 around April. It will be Indo-Western wear, where I’ll be playing with a lot of light spring colours.

Motto you live by…

Be content, proud and celebrate being yourself. Create your own individual style and stories. Take
inspiration from the trends rather than blindly following everything. Fashion is an artistic way to project your inner self, it’s not a tool to change who you are.