UK-based Nepali fashion designer Sanyukta Shrestha’s eponymous sustainable bridal brand has won a sustainable fashion award from the animal welfare organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Shrestha’s designs are known to infuse traditional Nepali craft, and are made from sustainable materials like hand-spun and hand-loomed bamboo, banana, hemp, organic cotton, and wild nettle. She won the Luxury Award at PETA’s 2021 Vegan Wedding Awards.
“Winning the PETA Vegan Wedding award was an emotional moment that left us in tears,” said Shrestha, noting that the award marked an important milestone for the brand’s value and vision. The award was announced on her label’s tenth anniversary.
Shrestha, who was born and raised in Nepal, volunteered at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) in Kathmandu two decades ago. This experience eventually led her to pursue a career in design, and she graduated from the London College of Fashion, and launched her bridal collection in 2011.
Shrestha’s work is internationally acclaimed, with one of her sustainable couture creations having been preserved at The Fashion Museum in Bath, England. Her designs have been worn by public figures including supermodel Candice Swanepoel, American band Fifth Harmony as well as actors Natalie Coyle and Amy Nuttall from the television series The Sopranos and Downton Abbey respectively.
The climate conscious designer had previously won ‘Editor’s Choice Award’ at the Bridal Buyer Award in 2020.
The PETA Vegan Wedding Awards had 12 categories and high-profile participants and collaborators, with global figures such as British singer Leona Lewis winning the Vegan Wedding Influencer Award.
The global fashion industry with its fleeting trends and substantial carbon footprint has long been critiqued as wasteful and unsustainable. In fact, the cotton and textile industries are the second largest users and polluters of freshwater resources worldwide, and the increasing use of synthetic material in clothing is adding to the waste.
“Because true luxury is kind, high-end designer Sanyukta Shrestha received the accolade for her collection of gorgeous wedding gowns made from high-quality vegan fabrics… allowing brides to walk down the aisle in style while being kind to the planet and the animals we share it with,” PETA Director Elisa Allen said in a statement.
Nepal, one of the countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change, also has a nascent sustainable fashion movement, most recently with the 2nd edition of the Mt Everest Fashion Runway event this year in Gokyo.
The fashion event aimed to encourage post-pandemic eco-tourism, and turn the Himalayan nation into a global hub for sustainable fashion.
The designs included in the fashion show were made of biodegradable fabric such as pashmina, wool felt, and cruelty-free silk in a bid to promote renewable and ethically sourced fabrics.
Proceeds from the sale of the Everest event is set to be donated to the Himalayan Climate Initiative (HCI), a youth-driven, Nepali non-profit that promotes climate resilience and supports the Himalayan communities.