We love coming across unique local businesses and we’ve just uncovered the latest gem! Snakes & Shanti is all about clothing for the conscious, specialising in real, handmade products created for the earth warrior and modern-day gypsy. They’re so unique that no two items are the same! We sit down with the high-spirited designer Mary Shrestha.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My parents named me Mary Shrestha; I was born and raised for most of my years in Australia.
The first of my five years were spent in Nepal and I believe that they had a lasting effect on my outlook on life. Returning to Australia I grew up in the Otway’s in Victoria, where I had a simple upbringing. This is where my creative side developed at a very young age. I was always creating something, from art, jewelry to making clothes. I taught my self how to use a sewing machine and began creating clothing patterns at the age of 13. Later in life, I studied my Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Textiles at the Gordon Tafe in Geelong. I then went on to work as an assistant designer for a local clothing label in Melbourne. I had always dreamt of having my own clothing label, I realised it didn’t have to be a dream.
All your items are handmade from all over the world, how did you determine what suppliers and creators to use?
I went to Nepal in 2017 to visit my family, during this time I walked the streets and searched high and low to find quality manufactures. I met Ashad and made a nice connection straight away, he is the most talented silk embroidery artist in Kathmandu. Ashad values his work and has a set price, I respect him for this. As an artist, it is easy to undercharge for your work and take any payment just to get by. Ashad is paid fairly and under his terms. Ashad has one apprentice worker, a wife, and 5 children who he supports. Ashad is responsible for all of the beautiful silk embroideries you see at Snakes and Shanti. I was introduced to Ramila through a family friend of mine in Nepal. Ramila and her brother run a small business in the countryside of Nepal that specialises in creating Hemp products. They are responsible for all of the Hemp bags and purses available at Snakes and Shanti.
Who are these clothes designed for?
The clothes are designed for everyone. Everyone is a conscious being, who has the ability to raise their awareness. ‘Clothing for the conscious’ is my mantra. This is something I wish to influence through my creations, raising awareness for sustainable living.
We saw that Tash Sultana repped one of your pieces on tour. How was that seeing someone so loved and respected getting behind your brand?
Tash is a major positive influence of our generation. Tash speaks the truth and inspires so many people so it is an honour to see her wearing Snakes and Shanti. I’m stoked to see people relating to Snakes and Shanti and connecting to the message.
You also make a variety of hemp bags and purses. Can you tell us a bit about those?
I was inspired to use Hemp in my designs when travelling through India and Nepal. The use of Hemp fabric is increasingly growing due to it being one of the most sustainable and environmentally friendly fabrics. The bags and purses at Snakes and Shanti are made from 100% Hemp that has been grown and hand weaved in Nepal. This is a slow traditional method that has been practiced in Nepal for centuries.
What’s next for you?
This is my path. Snakes and Shanti is the essence of my life, I’m going to keep spreading light and love through my designs.
Snakes and Shanti is available online at www.snakesandshanti.com and check it out on Instagram @snakesandshanti.