Welcome to Resa Living, a world of luxurious and sustainable design, where we take you on a journey that begins at the foothills of the Himalayas. In 2014, Nepal welcomed the Danish designer Theresa Bastrup Hasman and her family to its rich heritage and vibrant colours. From this inspiring beginning sprang the idea of making beautiful, sustainable, hand-made products by supporting women and local artisans.
In this blog we are proud to share interviews of women from different countries who love Resa Living and introduce some that are behind our collections. All these women share the love for sustainability and vision for a better future for women. We believe with all our hearts in female empowerment and that even small steps can have a positive impact.
Introducing Anouk Tamrakar, born in Holland now living in Nepal, founder of a charity improving the lives of children. Anouk owns a concept store with her husband promoting sustainable brands.
What is your greatest passion? ‘I feel grateful everyday surrounded by brands and inspiring people working together on a future where social responsible production is not an exception anymore but the standard.
Nobody should have to question if the product you want to buy is made under the right circumstances. Sustainability is important for the future of our environment and the protection of our basic human rights.’
What is your favorite Resa Living design? ‘The Copenhagen Clutch is one of my favorite designs. For me this bag is a daily luxury, practical in use and an amazing design available in any color combination that suits your personality. Actually, every woman needs one!
The lotus necklace gives me the feeling of wearing something close to traditional Nepali and in the same time so unique, meaningful and beautiful. Like a lot of the Resa Living designs you can wear this piece in every kind of occasion.’
What are your thoughts on women empowerment? ‘Women empower each other by supporting each others ideas’, breaking taboos, educate each other and walk hand in hand when needed to protect women rights all over the world. I believe we should create an environment where women and men work together side by side, inspire each other and value each other equally.
We have to be the change we want to see. That means that when we want a future of men and women together, side by side on the same level on the social ladder.’
Meet Ananya Price, a passionate development professional working in public health across the globe to better the lives of children and women. Originally from India, and she is now a global citizen, currently living in Laos.
As a fashion lover why is sustainability in fashion important? ‘Fashion has a key role in empowering the local community, helping create jobs and ensuring that the raw materials are sourced from sustainable sources. It also helps create training and education opportunities for the local communities and can motivate economic growth. This model also helps the local communities to carry on producing fashion products on their own and provide them with income generating opportunities. It is not exploitative in nature and as a consumer it is really important to me to know where my products come from, who makes them and how the raw materials are sourced.’
What do you think about Resa Living’s approach to fashion? ‘I love all the Resa Living designs, since each is unique and designed with a lot of thought. The Resa Living products, while being beautiful are also socially conscious and this is really important to me as a consumer. It makes me feel that I am contributing to an important social cause. When I first saw the Resa Living products I fell in love not just with the designs but also the story behind each product.’
How do you feel women can empower other women? ‘Empowered women have a key role in empowering other women, especially those who are not as empowered as them. As women we can motivate and encourage each other professionally and personally, share our experiences, provide support and lend a helping hand whenever possible. By being kind, being respectful, being open and accepting we can empower other women, especially those who maybe struggling or disadvantaged. As mothers, we should also empower our own daughters and instill in them the right values at a young age.’
If you could make one change to ensure the next generation of women are more empowered than your generation, what would it be? ‘I would hope that all women from the next generation are educated and have access to equal education opportunities. Knowledge is power and by being educated they will be confident and have the access to the information and resources needed to become empowered women.’
Meet Crystaline Randazzo, A photographer, filmmaker and strategic storyteller for nonprofits, foundations and social entrepreneur. She grew up in New Mexico in the United States but now lives and works in South Africa. Crystaline is the woman behind the Resa Living film about the makers behind our collections and is the wonderful photographer who has taken all images in this book. She is a strong supporter of women empowerment and equality.
What is your greatest passion? ‘Telling stories that deserve to be told.’
What made you purchase your first Resa Living design? ‘I fell in love with Resa Living products because of the beautiful craftsmanship. Every product has an eye toward design while keeping the integrity of the living crafts in Nepal. I say Living crafts because the artisans in Nepal make their livelihood from knitting, felting, metalwork, and jewelry making. It is a skill that is passed down from generation to generation. I love the idea of keeping that tradition alive, employing artisans with fair wages, and having a superb final product. I continue to purchase Resa Living because it makes me feel good. I enjoy wearing the product and gifting it to others, but even more than that I love that I get to support other artists in their craft.’
What is your favorite Resa Living design? ‘My favorite design are the Nordic circle earrings. They are the piece I reach for most of the time. The combination of silver and gold make them very wearable. Although I also love my tassel earrings!’
What makes them special? ‘The Nordic earrings are special because they are a classic design with some handmade flare. You can see the care and craftsmanship in the details and I love knowing that wearing them supports artisans in Nepal.’
How do you feel women can empower other women? ‘Women should empower other women in every way we can. This could include purchasing products and services from other skilled women, mentoring women in our field, or being willing to support each other without jealousy or comparison. It is up to each of us to reach out our hands, hearts, and pocketbooks to create prosperous futures for all women.’
If you could make one change to ensure the next generation of women are more empowered than your generation, what would it be? ‘If I could ensure one change in the next group of women, it would be to stop trying to please others at the detriment of yourself. Too many women do not chase their dreams because they are trying to please their families and be obedient daughters, good wives, and giving mothers. Be bold and powerful and go after your dreams.’
Part of the story behind our knitwear is that each piece is made by empowered women. Some have been stigmatized as single parents but they can now work in a caring environment, providing for their children, and gaining independence and confidence. Others work from their home, creating beautiful products through their craft while taking care of their young children. We use premium wool and cashmere, combining wool, vintage sari fabrics and other luxurious details, such as handmade buttons. The combination creates something special that offers you beauty and style.
Introducing Benita, one of our wonderful knitters.
Benita lives in Kathmandu with her family. She is a mother of two and is married to an artist. For the last nine years she has been hand knitting based in her home and weekly meeting up with other knitters. As a family they enjoy painting together, good food and lots of conversation. With the money she earns, she can put her children in a good school and help them fulfill their dreams. Benita enjoys her work and thinks it is a nice social job as she meets friends through knitting. She can work from home and support her children in case they should be sick and need a day off from school. We are very happy to have women like Benita working with us to make hand knitted pieces.
Meet Stuti Basnyet, a force of power advocating for women to have a voice and working as an independent consultant in Nepal.
What is your greatest passion? ‘My greatest passion, at the moment, is to bring people and organizations together to solve complex development challenges such as countering trafficking in people. I work with organizations in the development community to help generate and scale innovations and stimulate partnerships for sustained progress, and to tell that story. The goal, always, is to deepen and expand impact through local-and-market-driven solutions.’
How do you feel women can empower other women? ‘Women can empower other women by speaking up, advocating for, creating space, encouraging ambition, and supporting each other’s voice and aspirations. Here’s an example of simple things we can all do: If you’re invited to an event as a panelist, and your co-panelists are mostly men, encourage the organizer to think hard enough or to be creative in finding a diverse panel. For me, this statement always works: “I know a woman who’d be fantastic as a co-panelist! Let’s bring her in as well.” Ask that question, make the recommendation, and follow-up. Women’s empowerment will happen only through relentless pursuit of equity at home, work, and in the community. By everyone, men and women alike.’
If you could make one change to ensure the next generation of women are more empowered than your generation, what would it be? ‘If I could change one thing RIGHT NOW I would start with schools. What girls hear and learn at schools in Nepal needs to change. It is crucial to nurture self-confidence and break stereotypes from an early age for girls to be equipped with the confidence and courage needed to feel unashamedly ambitious and resilient to challenge, reshape and enrich our communities.’
How do you feel about sustainable fashion? ‘Sustainable fashion matters because it does not leave behind a toxic environmental footprint; it’s produced under safe and fair working conditions; and it’s cruelty-free.’
What do you think about Resa Living’s approach to fashion? ‘Resa Living literally embodies ‘design with the heart’. It recycles beautiful vintage fabrics and promotes the use of local products. Each product has a story to tell and at the heart of which is: empowering women and sustainable fashion.’
Do you have a favorite design? ‘The Himalayan Knot of Eternity series is probably among my favorite Resa Living products.’
Introducing Nicola Weir, who started as a British Management Consultant and founder of Thagaconnect, a consulting company that connects dynamic people living abroad but is currentlty Director at Deloitte and living in London.
What is your greatest passion? ‘Traveling with my family.’
How do you feel about sustainable fashion? ‘The more we travel the more we see how we (humans) are destroying our world. Economic inequality is worsening and change is desperately needed. I see sustainable fashion as part of this change - using products that are gentle to the planet whilst making the best of incredible local skills.’
What is your favorite Resa Living design? Why is this special? ‘I have two, the first is the Nepali friendship knot bracelet which is beautifully intricate and was bought by my friend Shannon as a gift from her adventures in Nepal. The second one is the city clutch bag which I’m rarely without during my travels whether I’m biking, walking or at work.’
What made you make your first Resa Living design? ‘I fell in love with the antique sari up-cycled belts combining saris and leather.’
How do you feel women can empower other women? ‘Stop judging and start supporting.’
If you could make one change to ensure the next generation of women are more empowered than your generation, what would it be? ‘To put an end to stereotyping.’
Meet one of our highly skilled weavers, Bhabi Pun.
Traditionally weaving has been done within families in Nepal, using hand looms, passing the skill down through generations. However, it is also a skill that can be taught later in life. Our lovely Bhabi, is one of those women who was introduced to hand loom weaving later in life. She grew up in a remote village in Nepal and didn’t get a chance to attend school so she had to work since she was a young girl. Some of the jobs were physically very demanding and life was not easy. However, in 2009 she joined one of our partners and started to receive training in weaving.
Bhabi loves her work, the community of women she works with and is very happy to provide for her family doing something she enjoys. She is a mother of two grown sons and a proud grandmother of her pride and joy baby girl.
Meet the Designer, Theresa Bastrup-Hasman
‘I fell in love with the potential of the beautiful craftsmanship and vintage fabrics in Nepal; and I also recognized the many challenges for women in this country, who lack power and equality. I began promoting sustainable fashion as country coordinator for Fashion Revolution Nepal, and later decided to start a Danish company producing unique designs in a fair and sustainable manner. The aim is to empower talented Nepali women and communities.
The name Resa Living represents Resa, my name, and Living as the way we choose to live and appreciate life. I chose the peacock feather as the brand logo, because the peacock with its many beautiful colors unfolds it wings and embraces the world while it strolls along like there is no limit to what it can achieve!
I am passionate about design that enriches life through its function and its beauty, but above all, my designs are about the people: those that create our products and those who love them and take them home. This is why we say we ‘Design with Heart’.
Resa Living is a company with a vision that we are working hard to achieve: we want transparent, fair and sustainable business to become the norm - not the exception! With every purchase people make, there is the chance to take us a step closer to that. I would like to thank all our wonderful Resa Living customers who have joined us on this journey, and offer a very warm welcome to our new ones. I hope you enjoy spending some time in our world, and knowing that everything you buy from us makes a positive impact.’
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