Adventures in Nepal – Seeking alternative fashions
Every now and again we pack up, leave the business in capable hands, and head for Nepal. It’s the best way to keep in touch with the people who design and make our alternative fashions. We can actually see clothing being made, feel the quality of the fabrics, check the sizing’s right and talk about exciting new designs and materials.
Over the years we’ve come to love the place and the people. It’s very beautiful, such a dramatic country, and the Nepalese are so warm and welcoming. We’ve been working with some of them for many years and feel like we’re part of the family. Which is why it was a shock to hear that, while we were there, the north west of Nepal suffered a deadly earthquake.
We were lucky, we were in the Kathmandu area at the time and the quake happened to the far north west, about 250 miles away. We were staying at a friend’s house and all we felt was a tremor around midnight, which woke us up shaking our room. It was the strangest feeling, we had no idea what was going on at first, it took us a few seconds to realise it was an earthquake. We just couldn't believe it.
The shakes lasted for a short time, leaving us not knowing what to do – should we get up, get dressed and leave the building? Should we stay put? Our friends soon reassured us, saying we probably wouldn’t get any more tremors and it was quite common.
We’re still thinking about the people up north, who suffered the full impact of the quake. It’s a very poor area with houses made of mud and stone or wood, and the majority of houses were either damaged or completely destroyed. Winter is on the way and the nights are already very cold, so it's no time to be sleeping outside. We actually met a young man in Kathmandu whose family lives in the Jajarkot area. They were badly affected by the quake, his parents’ house was completely destroyed, and now they’re living in a tent.
While there we decided to try to organise ongoing financial support for the area. One of the manufacturers we met is a member of a local organisation that’ll be providing help, and we’ll be working with them in future. One of our reasons for visiting Nepal this time was to find a new charity or cause to support through the business, so on the positive side it all came together really easily.
Now we’re safely back in the UK. It was an incredible trip. We were so fortunate to visit such amazing places, meet such beautiful people and take part in such special events, for example witnessing a grand puja for the deceased head of a Buddhist monastery. An elaborate ritual that helps overcome obstacles, demonic forces and supernatural harassment, it was unforgettable.
We’ve brought back so many wonderful memories as well as ideas for unique new alternative clothing and accessories. And we can’t wait for next time. In the meantime we’re sending love and hope to the Nepalese people who are trying to rebuild their lives as the winter creeps closer and the temperatures plummet. And we thank you, our lovely customers, for enjoying our clothing so much. Together we do great things!