The Nepali apparel market is awash in imported clothing. At the higher-end of the spectrum are the multinational, expensive, global brands and local boutique brands; at the mid- and lower-tiers are the mass-produced products sourced from China and Thailand. Most of these brands, obviously, comprise clothes featuring cookie-cutter designs that reflect the aesthetics that the global market demands. Le Guras, however, creates apparel that are decidedly Nepali—but Nepali as contemporised for the contemporary Nepali.
Jackets sold in a month
Le Guras produces both traditional Nepali apparel that have been tweaked to meet the modern customer’s needs and fusion pieces whose prints are derived from Nepali art and culture.
In late 2017, the company’s COO, Priya Bhandari, and her crew of designers designed the first prototype that they would use to test the local apparel market’s preferences. They worked with a small group of women artisans to produce a sporty jacket (in denim and khaki) that prominently featured a large tribal motif on its back. Based on that prototype, they produced a limited-editions line. The jackets sold out (thousands of units in pre-orders) within months, and the company understood that their Nepal-inspired clothing line made for a winning idea. The team then spent months researching every link in their production and supply chain, before finally creating a new apparel lineup in late 2018. The new line features Nepali-themed clothes that have been carefully tweaked from their archetypal design moulds and brought to life for today’s Nepalis. Some of them, such as their daura suruwals, preserve Nepali cuts and elements like the ‘tuna’. But the team have done away with some of the more onerous design particulars (such as the usual baggy bottoms), and made use of the more comfortable rayon as the design material, rather than the stiff and starchy cotton. Most of the clothes in the lineup can be worn with most others, and this provision for mixing and matching the various pieces allows the apparel to be worn on occasions both formal and casual.
Le Guras also creates accessories, such as scarves, that feature both traditional and fusion elements. And the fashion lines’ prints have been inspired by Nepali motifs that span the spectrum from the ethnic and the religious to the architectural and the natural. The clothes cater to the contemporary Nepali who is proud to be Nepali and whose choice of apparel reflects that pride.