WOW | Designs On You

WAKE UP CALL FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY

As with other businesses, COVD 19 has brought the fashion industry to a screeching halt. To know how a startup in the fashion is dealing with the situation, WOW talks with Shrija Shrestha, Founder and Creative Director of Ambassador Designs which was established in January 2020. Based in Jhamsikhel, the brand deals in formal attire for women. Here, Shrija talks about the changes she plans for post lockdown to survive in the market. Excerpts:

Text: Anushka Shrestha

How are you supporting your employees in the wake of COVID 19?

The pandemic situation is the least expected epidemic the human race had ever imagined could occur in the world. None of us were prepared for this situation, many tragic events occurred and this just breaks our hearts. However, if we help and support each other, we can get over it.

In my business, it is important to understand that my staff depend totally on the basis of the wages I provide. My company includes a team of seven in the tailoring and production department, some are in-house and others are outsourced.  Initially, I used precautionary measures like masks and sanitiser for me and my team. And just a week before the lockdown, I started some discounts and offers in the hope of selling as much as possible and delivering all orders before time. I called customers to clear their dues because it was highly important to provide salaries and wages to my team who earn on weekly basis. And later, I convinced them to go back to their homes especially those who live out of valley otherwise they would have faced crisis here in the city.

There is total pause on cash flow in the market, and we have to understand that the shopping of clothes and fashion wear is going to be the least of priority in coming days. as this is the unfamiliar situation, it has a huge question mark for most of us on how to cope up with this situation.

Now I have been thinking on what else I can do for my team because it is hard for them to survive without regular income. I had sent some cash to cope with the shortages for those who are still in the valley and have been constantly in touch with them over the phone.

How do you plan to rebuild demand post lockdown?

There is total pause on cash flow in the market, and we have to understand that the shopping of clothes and fashion wear is going to be the least of priority in coming days. As, this is the unfamiliar situation, it has a huge question mark for most of us on how to cope up with this situation.

I am thinking of offering cost-effective solutions in fashion wear and have thought of creating the ARC project i.e. Ambassador Rental Closet. This will be an addition to my current business. There is always a space for improvisation which shall be executed with time and conditions.

How are you incorporating sustainability in your designs?

This is the most important topic right now. We realise it is important to have a business module which somehow contributes to environment preservation and sustainability. As an entrepreneur, it’s not just about making money but it is important to think, plan and execute possible solutions with society and environment in mind. Renting business is a dominant business in the international market.  Ambassador Designs is the first entity in the Nepalese market to introduce rental of formal wear and encourages people to rent clothes as much as possible.

What are the most common mistakes women make with fashion?

I believe that the phrase about ‘mistake in fashion’ cannot technically be correct because fashion is all about your personality and attitude you reflect through your looks and fashion. Therefore, fashion can never go wrong with any individual.

My tips to help guide you to reflect your authentic self are: always have a collection in neutral shades, this is timeless and works everywhere. Formal wear will never fade, it always evolves. Formal wear is about having perfectly tailored attires. The most important of all however is to always choose quality over quantity.