KATHMANDU, June 3: For Subexya Bhadel, each one of those sunny weekends, the holidays and the fact that everyone in the family was home was exciting.
This excitement wasn’t solely because the holidays meant an assortment of elaborately prepared food and family games but because the Darjee dai would pay a visit. And Darjee dai’s visit meant a new frock in a new style. She felt new frock meant a new her.
She loved wearing those frocks and she still does; only now she makes them herself. Drawing inspiration from the Darjee dai with his scissors and inch tapes, she now runs Crossroads Apparel, a boutique at Lazimpat.
“As a child I loved dressing up,” smiles Subexya, 25 adding “and always knew that I would to do something related to clothing,” she says wearing a dress with colorful hearts to which she enthusiastically points out and says “this is my own creation too.”
Having taken up fashion technology in her Graduate and Masters level , from Lord Buddha Education Foundation she turned her passion into a profession during her first year of Masters Degree in 2008. She loved sketching, stitching and creating clothes out of cloth so much that many a times she would stay back late in the college to do so.
And even today she is doing the same thing at her store which is now, slowly gaining momentum with its client list including models, actors, bankers, doctors and housewives. Apart from designing regularly for various beauty pageants she has worked with big names like actors Manisha Koirala and Nisha Adhikari, Priyanka Karki, a model and as of recent for Miss Nepal 2011 Malina Joshi.
The shimmery mauve gown that Malina wore (in the far right picture) while giving her farewell speech in this year’s Miss Nepal finale was Subexya’s creation.
She says, it took her four days and four nights to complete the dress. “I remember being awake at 2 in the morning and embroidering the beads on to the bustier of the dress,” she says.
Malina collected rave reviews for the way she looked in the dress and so did Subexya. She received calls from people who had only good things to say about her creation.
“I had to carry the dress to a dry cleaner in Narayantar, Jorpati the very day she had to wear it as it had become dirty because of the multiple trial sessions,” she says adding “but the hard work was well worth it.”
But that wasn’t the first time Subexya brushed shoulders with hardship. She had learnt her lesson well four years ago when she started her business, as a post graduate student of Fashion Technology, with the little money her father had given her which was just sufficient to pay the rent for three months.
Fashion designing is a new field in Nepal and she plunged into it without knowing if it would be a lucrative business. The one thing she did know, however, was that she was determined and was ready for the challenges that would arise.
Finance problems hit her hard but she didn’t give up, rather looked for and found solutions to the problems. And it was also during these tough times that she learnt the about the ‘wonderland’.
“Since I was low on cash I couldn’t afford to buy fabric from India or anywhere abroad and therefore my obvious choice was Indra Chowk,” says the designer who refers to the busy market in the heart of the capital as ‘the wonderland’. Walking down the narrow alleys of Indra Chowk, she says, is always rewarding. “There is absolutely everything there and therefore, I’ve never had to import fabric till date.”
The alley not just offered her materials to translate her ideas into clothes it also introduced her to another passion that is equally close to her heart. “It bothered me to see little homeless kids running behind people begging for alms every day. I was so worried about these kids that I initiated Smile Nepal,” she informs.
Through Smile Nepal, an NGO, the warm hearted designer and her team work on various long and short term projects with the intention of helping street kids.
From hygiene projects where they cut the children’s hair and nails to free meals, clothes distribution, to charity film shows the organization, Smile Nepal helps the kids to bring back a smile on their faces.
“I think, I take after my father” she smiles explaining “he is associated with Curry Without Worry (CWOW).” CWOW is an NGO that feeds street kids and anyone interested in a wholesome meal every Tuesday evening at Basantapur. Subexya too joins the volunteering team of CWOW whenever she can manage time.
“I enjoy lending a hand while the large amount of food is prepared, cooking is my other passion and kids are my weakness and therefore I join them every time I can,” she quirks.
Her passion for food, however, is not limited to the occasional job at CWOW, for this self proclaimed ‘foodie’ has just partnered with a friend and opened a restaurant at Basantapur.
“We named it Bhungro , meaning a fireplace” she bursts out laughing and adds, “I hope the project goes a long way.” The place serves all kinds of local and international cuisine.
Asked what else she has in her long term plans she says she doesn’t have any. “I don’t really sit down to think where or what will be of me ten years down the line, I’d like to call myself spontaneous,” she says as she smiles her infectious smile.