Kashyapi Nepal: Young man’s idea drives the country’s sustainable fashion industry
Kishan Shrestha, 23, from Lalitpur started working as an accountant in a textile company when he was in upper secondary school. He spent about four good years of his life there as he learned a lot about the textile industry in Nepal and understood the strengths and shortcomings of the market.
“But I also became aware of the amount of pollution and waste generated by the textile industry during production, the range of wages paid to workers and many other aspects of the fashion industry.” , he said. After realizing this dark side of the industry, Shrestha felt the need to start something on his own in this same industry in order to bridge this gap. Because his mother was also in design and had a good idea of textiles, he decided to start his own business.
Therefore, Shrestha envisioned her idea, Kashyapi Nepal, a sustainable fashion brand after completing her undergraduate studies in April 2019. Her company is making significant strides in the sustainable fashion industry in Nepal, albeit slowly ( as “sustainable fashion” is also called “slow fashion” across the world).
Resourcefulness of recycled fabrics
While working for the textile company, Shrestha remembers that he also took care of all the planning of his business. It only took a few years for her to gracefully transition to her own brand.
According to him, he invested around Rs 30,000 at the start and gradually developed the business through the start-up. He shares: “I initially brought some fabric and made about two pieces, dyed them and asked some friends to try and ask their opinion. As a result, we worked on it. on our products and have improved them.
Started making clothes with cotton and bamboo fabric (khaki), gradually this slow fashion brand started to use more sustainable and recycled fabrics. Shrestha shares: “We are partly using recycled fabrics at the moment. Now we are doing our best to source ourselves entirely from recycled fabrics in the near future. “
Shrestha thanks her friends for helping her name and design logos and everything. It opens: “After I made my idea come true, I started sharing it with my school friends and they helped me find contacts, do videography and web design. They are on and off the team.
“As most pollution takes place during the production phase, we do our best to control it and produce durable and timeless products,” says Shrestha, a new management graduate. “Not only that, we also try vegetable tanning for coloring. products. We manufacture, design, market and sell our products using an eco-responsible approach.
Kashyapi Nepal does not have its own factory but works with three other factories and claims to pay them fair wages.
This slow fashion brand produces outfits and other accessories currently targeting Nepalese consumers in the 18-35 age group and offers outfits costing up to Rs 4,000.
As Shrestha shares, “Kashyapi Nepal is a digital clothing brand, we market our products through email, websites, Facebook pages and Instagram. Along with this, we also educate consumers about sustainable fashion, its importance and needs through our publications. “
Started with a maximum of three sales per week, within two years even disrupted by the pandemic, this brand has started selling around 50 pieces per week.
Continuous trial and error
But, Shrestha says her brand had to go through a lot of hardship to get here. “It is very difficult to acquire the resources in Nepal. There are many textile factories here, but I had a hard time finding the ‘right’ factory that could understand this concept and work accordingly, ”he says. In addition, he mentions that finding sustainable raw materials / fabrics was another challenge.
However, these obstacles did not stop Shrestha. He shares: “We’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to get to this stage. Learning from our mistakes and sometimes hearing from other people helps us grow. Little by little over time, we have broadened our contacts; sometimes we replaced people, sometimes fabrics and improved designs as needed.
Regarding competition with industry and fast fashion products, Shrestha believes that “consumers cannot compromise on price, quality and design. But, if sustainability can go hand in hand with all of these aspects, why leave it out? “
He further continues: “Also, the positive side of slow / sustainable fashion is that consumers are aware of sustainable fashion on a daily basis, as many other clothing brands and NGOs advocate the need for it. Without a doubt, the future of the fashion industry is sustainable fashion.
Building on this confidence, Shrestha aims to open physical outlets in Kashyapi Nepal in the near future. In addition, he adds, “We will be manufacturing our products using fully recycled fabrics in the coming days and will continue to advance each product in an environmentally responsible approach.”