“Far too often, people do social work in the Khumbu region but do not come back,” says Laxman Adhikari, ward chair of Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality. “This type of initiative not only promotes the Khumbu but continually returns to support the Khumbu in a sustainable manner.”
The clothing designs will be made of biodegradable fabric, non-violent (cruelty-free) silk, and other sustainable fabrics like pashmina and wool felt. The event will also be filmed for a documentary and a web series shot by Shruti Anindita Varma, a film director who has produced documentaries and popular reality tv shows in India.
The first Mt Everest Fashion Runway was held last year at Kala Pattar (5,643m) and was hailed by the Guinness Book as the world’s highest fashion show with models and participants from 18 countries. This year’s event will beat even that record, and there will be 200 people attending the event at the scenic Gokyo Lake located alongside Nepal’s longest glacier, the Ngozumba.
The glacier itself is rapidly shrinking, and the snowline across the Himalaya is receding due to the climate crisis. Organisers of the fashion events say they are going out of their way to create awareness about climate change, and to ensure that the event itself will have a light environmental footprint.
Mt Everest Fashion Runway aims to set an example and give Nepal a global reputation for being the sustainable fashion hub for the world. In an attempt to minimise its environmental impact, organisers say, all participants trekking up from Lukla to Gokyo, including the audience, will be using probiotic soaps and shampoos with waterless baths, effectively saving more than 20,000 litres of water. All the throwaway items will be brought back down, and participants will be offsetting their carbon emissions.
The event itself will provide jobs this autumn season for 400 residents of Khumbu, including porters and guides, whose livelihoods have been hit by an almost complete collapse of the trekking industry since sprint 2020.