1. Tell us about yourself.
I did my bachelor’s degree in Architecture followed by a master's degree in Project Management in Malaysia - and without a doubt, they were the best years of my life. When I graduated, I decided to start my own business because architecture made me realize how much I loved fashion.
I started Shayeh, but I wanted to do something different, I wanted people to feel good about themselves even when they’re at home. I wanted women to feel empowered, confident and sexy.
2. Tell us about Shayeh – its name, how it actually came to be, and your plans with it.
My name is Anusheh Shayeree, so it’s basically half of my middle name. A friend of mine has called me Shayeh since we were kids - otherwise, most people call me Ash.
So, when I was thinking of a name, I didn’t want ‘Anusheh Shayeree’, like what everyone does, I wanted something very easy. So, I was like “Why not Shayeh?” I think it’s a very catchy name, it’s short, and it’s nice.
Foreign countries consider Bangladesh to be a hub of garment-workers and that if they need anything, we’ll do it for them, but what they don’t understand is that Bangladesh is also capable of luxury. If India, our neighboring country, can have all the big and successful brands, someone must start it over here too. And that’s what I’m trying to do with Shayeh.
3. How did you get into the fashion industry?
After completing my bachelor’s degree in 2017, I immediately hopped onto my master’s degree because I didn’t want to take a break, I didn’t want to delay it.
Unlike architecture, project management wasn’t time consuming and I had the freedom to enjoy things that I loved doing. I’m a very outgoing person and this new course was very refreshing. I’m a very creative person at heart, and my free time helped me a lot to think out of the box. While all my friends were busy applying for jobs, I was developing ideas in my head on how to build my own brand.
From the start, I already had a name on Instagram as my account has always been public and I like to share my ideas and thoughts there. I was also a makeup artist back in the day, and so I already had a niche group of people following me for a long time, which led me to think that if I started a brand, it wouldn’t be hard for me to advertise it. I’m interested in marketing too, it's one of my passions. So, I’m always looking for unique ways to advertise and portray my brand.
4. What’s your take on fashion?
In a world full of trends, I want to remain a classic.
5. How did you get started?
I have been obsessed with Victoria’s Secret and their fashion shows for the longest time. Although they sell lingerie, their fashion shows are much more than that. And when I would wear their products, I used to feel like a goddess, and it made me realize that it’s not just the exterior that has to do with our confidence. Even though Victoria’s Secret offers a lot, I was particularly very impressed by their sleepwear line because it made me feel so pretty at home, and I used to entertain my friends wearing pajamas. Hence the idea struck from there.
Shayeh’s current page used to be an interior page because I wanted to start interior designing as I knew architecture was not something I could pursue. So, I turned that interior page called ‘Shayeh Living’ into today’s Shayeh. I had randomly posted on that page that I was taking orders for some lovely PJs, and I clearly remember that I got 3 orders.
Here, at Shayeh we focus more on colors as that is one of our forte. We want to portray colors in a way that every woman out there can relate to one or the other.
6. Which one fashion brand would you identify with yourself and why?
Oh, that’s very hard… I love Gucci, but I believe Chanel is very me - it’s very classy, it’s very chic, it doesn’t try too hard.
7. Who are the 3 people you look up to?
If you asked me this a year back, I would have given you the names of a bunch of celebrities who represent different times of my journey. But, now, the 3 people would be:
My dad – he is very brave and optimistic. My dad has been extremely supportive throughout whatever I wanted to do, and I definitely think that I’m here today because of him.
My mom – she is very bold with a very strong personality. I think my mom is the most confident person I know; she taught me that confidence is key!
Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour – they’ve always been my biggest inspiration and I remember watching their documentaries on repeat while doing my architecture assignments. They taught me how to fearlessly and unapologetically be myself and I couldn’t be more grateful.
8. You are a bold person, but not many are even though they are talented. What would you like to tell them?
Please stop trying to impress the society. Put yourself first, this is your life, and if you want to do something, do it for yourself. Trust your journey because God has everything planned for you. Meanwhile keep on experimenting, because you might be good at something that you don’t know about.
It’s important to be able to be fierce. Go after what you’re passionate about or work hard for it to come to you. And another thing I’d like to say is that stop thinking too much because the more you think, the more you waste time.
9. Empowered women contribute to empowering other women – how do you think you’re playing your role in this?
Shayeh introduced the concept of sleepwear in Dhaka and in a very small amount of time there were a lot of people doing the same thing. At first, it really bothered me because this was my brainchild and I worked really hard for this. But, they say imitation is the highest form of flattery and so I understood that I had done a wonderful job, because my idea was working.
I also like to express myself through my personal page on Instagram. In a very competitive world of the social media era, I just want to remain nothing but myself and I think that encourages other women too, to be comfortable in their own energy and vibe.
10. What message would you like to give to the readers?
It’s very important to dream. I’m a daydreamer, and I have seen my dreams shape into reality because I worked hard for it. I think our comfort zone is our biggest enemy because nothing ever grows from there. So, once you decide to leave that place, that’s when you truly start living your life.
I want to see Bangladesh grow in front of my eyes and I want to be able to contribute to it through fashion. So, let’s come up with innovative ideas, and make Bangladesh as good as a first world country. Maybe it won’t happen right away, but it will happen someday. So chop chop, let's get to work, girls!