Fashion Manufacture in Nepal – Beautiful Clothes, Beautiful People

Wednesday, 28 February 2018  |  Kate

We stock a large range of beautiful hippie and boho clothing, and a lot of it is made in faraway  Nepal. It's a country with a long and venerable history of fabric and clothing design & manufacture. These days the country's ready-made garment sector exports exceed 1 billion US dollars every year and provide direct employment for 100,000 or more Nepalis. Here's a peek into the Nepalese clothing manufacture sector.

Nepalese fashion is exported to 110 countries

Nepal exports at least 55 different kinds of hand made textiles to more than 110 countries around the world, even though they've long been hampered by problems with the supply of raw materials, high import duty charges and complex export regulations. The US and Europe are the major players, and most of the raw fabrics used come from nearby China, India and Tibe. The majority of the fashions created in the country are made by small businesses, often family affairs, in hilly rural Nepal.

A long and proud history of textile-making

The textile industry in Nepal goes right back to the 2nd century, when cloth was still woven by hand. The chilly climate meant woollen garments were the focus, and the country's famously close ethnic and cultural ties with India are reflected in Nepalese fashion scene to this day. But the past two decades have seen a meteoric rise of the garment industry there, for three key reasons.

First, the garment exporters of Asia were hit by a harsh quota system imposed by US and European importers. At the same time labour costs rose steeply in other garment exporting countries, undermining their long-held price advantage. And when producers were forced to look for alternative, cheaper locations for manufacture, Nepal happily stepped into the gap.  

Increasingly ethical, always sustainable

With its low wages and set up costs, Nepal has a unique advantage to expand its ready made garment sector.  And they're keen to expand, keen to make a success of it. There's a growing community of like-minded manufacturers, brands, and designers in Nepal who all want to see an increase in ethical fashion and sustainable practices. They've been working together to promote better transparency and industry practice for the last four years, and on 29th April 2018 they're holding a special event at Fashion Revolution Week in remembrance of the Rana Plaza disaster in nearby Bangladesh.

The Fashion Revolution Fair and Catwalk Show will promote the many ethical producers and designers in Nepal and aims, via education and social engagement, to promote positive change, motivating more of us than ever before to think about fashion's impact on people and the environment.

A dedicated new garment processing zone

In January 2018 the Nepalese government initiated construction of a dedicated new garment processing area in the country's Simara Special Economic Zone, to be completed by 2019. It's set to lower production costs and increasing the scope for export, making Nepali products even more competitive.

The initiative will house over 30 fashion production units, available at a  low price per square metre with affordable  electricity, drainage and more on-site. The special new garment processing zone is badly needed since Nepal, being landlocked, has to take into account unusually high transport and shipping costs. The zone is expected to make the price of Nepali products more competitive across international markets, which is good news for us and for you and well as for the Nepalese people.

Awesome creativity on tap

Why do we love Nepalese clothing brands so much? First, it's a quality thing. Even our simplest embroidered, appliqued and razor-cut strappy top is made from beautiful, thick, quality 100% cotton, none of that baggy cheap stuff that loses the plot after just one wash. Second, it's an attention to detail thing, combined with an impressive level of creativity. We're endlessly delighted by the lengths to which our suppliers go to create deliciously exotic clothing for us, and pleased by how much the people doing the intricate close-up work seem to enjoy it. The Nepalese have this completely natural faultless sense of colour, which resonates through everything they make for us.  And when they make something warm it is super-warm – these are the Himalayas, aftre all, and people know what proper cold means over there!

Next time you buy an item of boho or hippie clothing from Wicked Dragon, remember where it came from and send a nod of respect to our friends in Nepal. If they could see how much our customers enjoy wearing the results of their hard work, they'd be so pleased!

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