“These challenges are a given in Nepal, but we must persevere despite them, and our passion keeps us going,” says Mishu Shrestha, a 48-year-old fashion designer who founded MISHUS fashion house in Kathmandu in 2012 after getting her diploma from Milan.
The same year, Shrestha held her first fashion show, ‘Mishus Couture’, with 50 models from across the country. In doing so, however, she realised that in Nepal a fashion show is just a show and offers no business-to-business uptake, unlike elsewhere in the world, where prospective buyers come to place orders.
It is no wonder that fashion shows in Nepal are not an attraction anymore, but designers like Shrestha want to revive shows to rejuvenate the garment and apparel industry. That will create job and business opportunities, increase exports and market Nepal’s culture through designs based on Nepal’s indigenous clothing traditions.
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“I really feel there is a market out there for Nepali apparel, and it is high time we designers collaborated to share creative ideas not just for designs but also for markets, and finding access to the important international buyers,” says Shrestha, who has started doing just that.