This month, for Doncopolitan magazine’s #AllNations issue, I have had the absolute pleasure of talking to fellow Gucci shoe lover, Sania – of Sania’s Beauty and Boutique, in Doncaster. This wonderful store houses a boutique of Asian fashions at the front, and a beauty room in the back. Having been in business for two years, Sania has amassed quite the reputation. The shop’s Facebook page is covered with recommendations and she has formed amazing bonds with customers.
“That’s the satisfaction I get from this. I feel like people have accepted me and my shop into the society and it’s really nice.”
The shop really is genius. Customers can walk in, get an outfit, jewellery, a bag, then get their eyebrows and nails done – all before a night out. It’s perfect.
“I’ve always been in to fashion and beauty. I like to make people feel beautiful. You get a real sense of achievement when somebody comes in to find an outfit; you help them with suggestions, then they walk away happy – the bag proudly in their hands.”
Sania is well known for her threading, which is quickly overtaking waxing as a more precise and less skin-irritating alternative. Once Sania gets her hands on your eyebrows, you won’t want to go anywhere else. Sania has practiced the traditional Indian art for 15 years, working in a concession at two different Superdrugs’, before opening the Beauty and Boutique. You know you’re in good hands.
“I picked it up from when I went to salons with my mum as a child, it’s just something we do. My daughter, she’s 11 and she can do it.”
Garments in the boutique are sourced directly from India and Pakistan. They follow traditional seasons and trends – as well as Indian and Muslim occasions and festivals. Most are daily wear but some pieces are more formal, with extra bead and embroidery work.
“My pieces follow current trends, if we were behind no one would want to come here. People go on the internet, see what’s going on around them, then come in and ask: ‘Can we have this colour or this design?’”
The beauty of Asian fashions is that each piece can be worn in very different ways. Each outfit usually comes with three separate pieces, it’s up to you whether you put them all together at once, or split them into a number of different looks.
The one thing Sania doesn’t sell is bridal wear, but she would love to expand into this one day, should more Asian boutiques arrive.
“Women want to look in more than one shop so they head to the big cities where they can go to ten. It would be great if there were more Asian fashion shops in Doncaster then people would come here to shop bridal.”
Decadent, opulent and luxurious, Asian wedding attire is truly a beauty to behold. The Lehenga is a heavily beaded, embroidered dress that gets layered with as much gold jewellery as the wearer can bear. This is usually worn on the first day, then a Sari on the second. A nose chain is a piece of wedding jewellery recently adopted by the Western world, connecting a nose and ear piercing with a gold chain across the cheek.
“Western people are buying into Asian styles and Asians are doing the same with the West. I believe this cultural exchange brings a lot to the community, and society as a whole.”
Cultural appropriation is a major talking point in the fashion industry. Some believe it reduces years of tradition to mere fashion, lost on it’s new wearers. Sania’s opinion however, is very different. She feels proud when people of other ethnicities wear what she calls traditional – it is a sign of appreciation towards her heritage.
“Now when I’m travelling or going somewhere, nobody is a stranger to me. Chinese, Filipinos, Europeans, Russians, Polish, any part of the world, no one feels like a stranger to me.”
Owning her boutique has allowed Sania to see a range of different faces walk through her door. As she hand picks her pieces each season, she deems it important to keep up with the modern world. Merging cultures is what is trending in fashion, so to be on top of these trends her eyes have to be open to everything that’s around her.
“I think this is how we as a society, can actually be one.”
This post is sponsored by Doncopolitan.