Attire on hire

Published On: July 12, 2019 10:21 AM NPT By: URZA ACHARYA

Tired of having to buy an out-of-your-budget party-wear every time someone in your family gets married? Now you don’t have to anymore. Antidote Nepal is here to help you put together a great outfit for a nominal price every time you have to attend a function that requires you to dress up. You can pick up ethnic clothes without having to shell out a lot of money, all the while doing your bit to save the environment, which is always a great thing.

The process is pretty simple. You go to Antidote Nepal’s Facebook or Instagram page (@antidotenepal) and send them a screenshot of the dress you want. The team immediately gets in touch with you in order to schedule a time when they can take your sizes in order to get you a perfect fit. After that, the dress is delivered to you or you can go to them for a quick check in and last minute touch ups and the dress is all yours to wear. And, the good thing is that, you can return the dress after your event. A few spills here and there will be taken care of, just make sure there aren’t any permanent damages.  

The whole idea of renting ethnic wear was the brainchild of Antidote Nepal’s founder and CEO Manish Jung Thapa. Thapa recalls a funny anecdote of his sister collecting money from him and their parents in order to buy new dresses for several family occasions (and in Nepal’s case, there are plenty). “I asked her why she needed new dresses for every other occasion when I had been wearing the same daura suruwal set for years,” he says adding that this was when he realized that women felt pressured to look different and wear something new every time and that all this was costing them a lot of money.

Thapa then looked into a solution on the internet and found out that renting special wears was an already pretty established business in other countries - for example, “Rent the Runway” in the USA and “Flyrobe” in India. “I realized that if India had a market for rental clothes, it had potential in Nepal as well,” he says. And thus, Thapa started Antidote Nepal in hopes to cater to women’s need for ethnic wear without them having to spend lots of money over clothes they would only wear once or twice at most. 

Launching the business required several months of extensive research and brainstorming. Antidote Nepal was officially launched less than two months ago and till date it has been able to provide invaluable services to over 35 women. As of now, the company is run by Thapa and Aakriti Pradhan, who handles the logistics aspect of the business, whereas Thapa looks after long-term objectives. 

Along with renting clothes, you can also put your clothes up for rent through Antidote Nepal. “This way you can make money from clothes that would otherwise be tucked away in your closet,” explains Thapa. Once rented, you get half of the profit made out of the clothes and, if you decide to sell it, you will get 65 percent of the profit made. According to Thapa, sourcing clothes like this helped them cut down on the need to make their own clothes or hire permanent designers and made things easier for both the parties involved.  

According to Thapa, Antidote Nepal has found its place in a niche of millenial women, especially ones with a more radical or open-minded thinking who value experiences more than possessions. “Many of our customers can afford to buy another dress but they just choose not too,” he explains. 

According to the UN Environment Program’s website, the fashion industry produces 20 percent of global wastewater and is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions and that textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally. Taking this into account, Antidote Nepal hopes to bring awareness among people about how clothes don’t have to be exclusive in order to make a statement as women deserve much more than judgment on the basis of what they wear.  
“It’s 2019 and people are more environmentally conscious and into ideas like minimalism, so it’s the perfect time and place for companies like ours to flourish and spread a message,” says Thapa.

He further reveals that, in the present context, looking at costs as well as the environment, renting clothes makes much more sense but the Nepali society has yet to embrace the concept of wearing rented clothes for a certain event. “People are skeptical about the quality as well as the cleanliness of the clothes but if all parties, us included, were to be a little more careful about the way we handle the clothes, there would be no issue whatsoever,” says Thapa. 

For Thapa, kick starting and running Antidote Nepal has been a constant battle with his inner demons as well as working his other freelance jobs to support the cause. “In the end, the fact that I’m doing my part in being an entrepreneur working towards building a business that is environmentally and socially conscious makes it all worth it,” he concludes.

(Urza Acharya)

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