Kathmandu: ‘Redefining beauty’ has been a buzzword in the fashion industry these days, but very few fashion houses have been able to put it into practice. Last week, a fashion contest was organized in Kathmandu that redefined beauty in a true sense by allowing the audience to witness models and participants from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The event also saw the participation of people with skin disorders such as vitiligo, and diverse sexual orientations. The event showcased beauty beyond the conventional concept, and this event was the first of its kind in Nepal.
The event titled ‘En Vogue Volume-8’ was organized by House of Fashion (HoF), a modeling agency and clothing store. The eighth iteration of the annual modeling contest had the tagline ‘This Time, For All’, and the contest was open to all individuals, regardless of their size, height, marital status and sexual orientation.
HoF is one of the prominent modeling agencies that is dismantling beauty stereotypes. The agency works with the notion ‘personality has no criteria’.
Since 2012, HoF is on a mission to promote local art and fashion. Besides, it has also served as a hub for local designers, models, and fashion students, and has been organizing numerous events and programs to help them get international exposure.
Nepal Live Today’s Rojina Rai caught up with CEO and the Founder of HoF Oshima Banu to know about the journey of the modeling agency and the impact it has created in the fashion industry of Nepal. Excerpts:
What triggered the inception of House of Fashion?
I started my fashion journey as a model, and I spent years learning and exploring the fashion industry. With time, I wasn’t just a model, I could communicate and collaborate with the team of make-up artists, fashion designers and other models. After getting ample exposure in the industry, I thought of contributing to various segments of the fashion business. After having discussions with friends and acquaintances, they encouraged me to start this venture and that’s how House of Fashion came into being.
What are requirements you look for before signing a model with your agency?
Until last year, we had just the basic criteria practiced by every agency in the city. Lately, we are moving ahead with a conviction that HoF should not only produce models. Rather we wanted to open our doors to all aspirants and give them the opportunity to groom their personality and help them become better human being. So, from this year, we are not setting any criteria for the models, instead, we give them space to understand their drawbacks and follow their own artistic instinct. HOF, now, is open to all who fit in these criteria and who have an attitude of learning.
Do you think the concept of beauty is changing globally? And where does Nepal stand in this regard?
Yes, the concept is changing globally, and I think Nepal isn’t too regressive in this regard. In this matter, I won’t say Nepal is lagging that much. Thanks to the widespread use of social media, people have become more aware and they are better exposure to international events these days. We are just taking baby steps and hopefully one day we will be in the same alignment as the rest of the world.
How has HoF contributed to the fashion industry of Nepal so far?
What we have been doing for the last nine years is quite remarkable, and we are applauded by many of our contemporaries. Many modeling agencies close down within a short time of their inception. Sustaining this long in the market on this scale was quite hard, but we succeeded and this has definitely sent a positive message to all who are in this sector. Throughout this journey, we have succeeded in bringing a number of national and international models and actresses such Ayushman Deshraj Joshi, Jyotsana Yogi, Anjali Lama, Akash Adhikari and Niti Shah to the limelight.
What does the future hold for HoF?
We already have a long list of accomplishments and projects yet we are not satisfied with what we have done. We will be coming up with new events and programs in line with our theme of equality and justice. We are doing a lot of research for this and we will keep on reaching out to people from diverse backgrounds. We will also be expanding our presence in cities outside Kathmandu valley.