“My designs are for men but are sold mostly among women,” says Tejmaya Pun. The young fashion designer came into limelight when her collection was part of Gautam Dhimal’s shoot ‘Himalayan Fashion Adventure’ in Mustang. “I had designed clothes for my college fashion show and was later approached by the ace photographer for this shoot,” says Tejmaya who styled the models mixing Nepali and modern aesthetics.
A graduate of IEC College, Tejmaya is often seen in loose-fitting trousers, swagger coats and easy shirts, and she loves to explore her creativity through her casual wear clothing line which almost feels like an extension of her own preference in clothing.
“I was never into ethnic designs, that’s not my passion. Kurta, lehenga, gowns are great, but just not my type,” she shares. Her prime focus, as a designer, is on comfort and functionality, accentuating gender-neutral designs.
In an interview with WOW, Tejmaya talks about her first steps into the world of fashion and what keeps her going. Excerpts:
How did you get into fashion design?
For me, designing is an expression of who I am as a woman with all the complications, feelings and emotions. It is a path that I have discovered over the years. During my childhood, I wanted to fly. I would either imagine myself as a pilot or an air hostess. However, that dream didn’t last. I was a science student and wanted to then become a doctor. But eventually that didn’t excite me in the way fashion does. To explore more, I did a diploma in designing and discovered my potential. Today, I realise that since school days, I was always passionate about art and craft projects and would give my 100% in those assignments.
You are both the creative and the business head of your brand. How do you find balance between the two?
It’s difficult to balance both. As a creative head you want to experiment with designs but as an entrepreneur you want to see those designs sell and survive. To balance this, many times, I end up satisfying my creative side through different editorial shoots. Businesswise, it comes to a few customisations and understanding client demands. As fashion came to a halt during the pandemic, I began to think broadly. I even planned to go abroad and try my luck in the global fashion scene. However, I am currently exploring the online market where my designs are doing fairly well.
What inspires your designs?
Personal blogs, celebrities, Instagram, senior designers, culture and travel. For my first collection, I didn’t want to do something feminine. I love designing for men. Eventually these designs were explored as unisex clothing. My designs symbolise freedom, they are less opinionated and more accepting of people. Also travelling for fabric exploration in Nepal is always refreshing.
How do you want people to remember your brand?
As a gender-neutral brand. Gender binaries are being deconstructed around us everywhere, so why not in fashion which is surely a fine representation of cultural evolution. Young people around us want to be functional along with fabulous and just losing the label. This fluidity is moving into our overall idea of design and beauty as well. For instance, look at men’s hair: the beard happily co-exists with the man bun.
What do you feel before launching a new line or collection?
I am always excited. Everything I do is a matter of the heart, body and soul. More than other’s feedback, my personal satisfaction from my designs plays a huge role. My collection should be the way I first imagined it or penned it on a paper. When my first collection got attention and was praised by many, the only thought that bothered me was will I be able to maintain this with my other collections too.
What do you identify as two major problems faced by the fashion world?
One of the major problems is commercial and creative designs don’t go hand-in-hand. People aren’t ready to spend much when it comes to casual wear.
The other problem is controversy. If someone is doing things differently, they are criticised heavily in terms of design inspiration or they are labelled as a copy of Western design.
Do seasons matter anymore in the world of fashion?
People are breaking rules and so are designers. These days more than trends, colour palette and seasons, people follow classics and have their signature style.
Besides fashion, what interests you?
I am a volleyball player, and sports interest me a lot.
Three ruling trends: Oversized shirts, midi skirt, blazer
Colour palette one can’t go wrong with: Blue, yellow, pink
Designer who inspires you: Alexander McQueen, Valentino