By Payton Vincelette
Located between China and India, Nepal is a country rich in culture, and home to various religious and ethnic groups. While Western fashion has influenced many of the surrounding countries, Nepal has retained its traditional style of dress, especially in rural areas.The clothing in Nepal is conservative, and many websites discourage western tourists from showing too much skin. However, many Nepalese fashion designers seem to be aiming towards a more modern style of dress and it appears that the country’s fashion may be evolving.
Traditionally, men’s clothing in much of the country is the daura suruwal, a long tunic over pants; Daura is the upper wear and Suruwal is the pant. The Daura has eight strings, each with religious significance. This traditional outfit is completed with a topi, or wool hat.
Women in Nepal typically wear a guniu, a sari-type garment. The sari is wrapped around the waist in the style of Haku Patasi. This style is still worn among farmer women as everyday wear in rural areas, and it is the most popular dress for festive occasions.
However, since in 2009, TGIF Nepal Fashion Week has been held annually in the capital city of Kathmandu, featuring the work of numerous designers from Nepal and bringing a lot of changes to Nepalese fashion.
In 2014, designers Sanju Gurung‚ Priti Gurung and Dinesh Gurung were an example of this change in tradition, saying: “Short dresses are looked down in our society but we want to encourage it. Why not? It is feminine even though it shows legs. It is about about building confidence.”
In America, the designer Prabal Gurung who was raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, is making headlines with his classically feminine designs. His client list includes the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, and Lady Gaga, to name a few.
Since the earthquake, Gurung has been a vocal advocate for Nepal, raising thousands of dollars for the Shikshya Foundation Nepal’s relief fund. Gurung is a brand ambassador and board member at the foundation, which has launched a campaign designed to aid victims and promises to donate 100 percent of the money raised.