Although they started out with just making customized t-shirts, Shibori Nepal have expanded their brand to the point that they are actually opening up a concept store in Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur very soon. Arshiya KC, the founder and owner of the brand, calls Shibori a made in Nepal brand that is waywardly trying to revolutionize the clothing industry in Nepal. She adds that the company views garments more like an art form and all of their pieces are handmade and are made by utilizing the resources available in Nepal.
It was last year right before the annual festivities (Dashain and Tihar) that Shibori Nepal came out with their first clothing item that was not hand dyed t-shirts: The French Dress. KC claims that these garnered such amazing responses that the team decided to expand the array of their production to items other than just hand dyed tees.
By now, they have already released a number of collections, the latest of which was their Summer 2018 Collection that included a variety of dresses, tops, jumpsuits, and trousers.
“The production process is especially conscientious for us because we pay a lot of attention to the tiniest details. Even the fabrics used to make our products are mostly hand woven by ourselves but we do import some types of fabrics from India. This Summer Collection was a result of two months of hard work,” says KC.
Although, right now she is the one who is managing the company at the forefront, she mentions that a number of people worked behind the scenes during the research and development and the initial stage of Shibori Nepal, including her mother Saguna KC. Other individuals working as a part of the Shibori team includes their tailor, dyer, marketing executive, ironing person, and two other staff who are involved from the start to finish of any product at the moment.
The brand was named Shibori because KC believes it reflects their roots. Shibori is the Japanese word for a variety of ways of embellishing textiles by shaping cloth and securing it before dyeing. The word comes from the verb root shiboru that means “to wring, squeeze, press.” And the clothes shaped by these methods are secured in a number of ways, like binding and knotting. Since that is what’s done to the fabric they use, KC mentions that the team settled on this name.
KC reveals that her team gets the inspiration for the design and style for their products from the current trends and just everyday life in general. And once they come up with designs and conceptualize it, they then discuss the viability of it, and stitch it. But the final product is far from finished. They rework each of their pieces a number of times until they believe they have the perfect item and lastly move onto further processing it. Once they get orders for a certain product from a buyer, they custom make each of those designs in the sizes requested by the customer.
“I honestly can’t pinpoint just one or two things or experiences that have been a challenge for the brand. So many things from bringing in raw materials to laborers leaving the country for better opportunities created many hurdles throughout our journey,” says KC further adding that working on Shibori has been a rollercoaster ride since its inception. But KC claims that it has also taught her a few things. “The biggest lesson I have learnt is that anything is possible with a lot hard work and dedication. Yes, there are micro and macro economic factors that play crucial roles in determining success in business but I have realized that you just need to be focused and maintain that zeal to work hard everyday,” she adds.
Currently, the Shibori team is working on a new collection besides the launch of their concept store. With this, they hope to make their brand more accessible to the public as well as make handmade clothes more popular than ever in the local market.