Manish Khadgi had been working as a photographer for the past six years – a fashion photographer for the last few years at that – when he decided to launch his own fashion brand. The driving force behind this was the fact that Khadgi saw a lack of quality fashion clothing for men in the country. And so, Ramp was born. Though the clothing brand, Ramp, was initially focused on catering to men and bringing about some much-needed change in men’s fashion, Khadgi quickly decided not to cater exclusively to men and included clothes for women in their fashion line as well.
“There is always room for good fashion. And though women have a lot more options, I don’t think excluding them from Ramp would have been a good idea,” says Khadgi explaining his decision to cater to both men and women though his foray into fashion designing happened because he wanted to fill the vacuum of quality men’s fashion wear in the country. Currently, Ramp funded by Khadgi himself and his cousin Reni Khadgi, have clothes that are inspired by western looks and fashion ideologies.
Of his brand, Khadgi says, “As our name suggests, our focus is to provide voguish designs with creative twists to make you feel like you are walking on a ramp under the spotlight even when you are out and about in the streets of the capital. Our selection will have items from basics to trendy style clothing lines. We want to design good clothes that fit all occasions, moods, and lifestyles.”
Khadgi claims to have always been fascinated by design and fashion. But it was only two years ago that he decided to quit his job as a full time photographer and start learning fashion designing. He says his friends taught him quite a bit about fashion designing and then he also took a bunch of online courses. For about six months during the past year, he also took up fashion photography at a magazine to get a deeper understanding of the world of fashion and its various elements.
Khadgi, who uses the alias Many Shahi for digital identification because he, at times, feels like his official name is a bit too common in Nepal, is still a freelance fashion photographer and feels being able to create a clothing brand with this experience is pretty surreal and he is very proud of every single item that he has created so far.
As of now, Ramp has its studio and manufacturing outlet in Dallu, Kathmandu and Khadgi is planning to open Ramp’s first retail outlet in Pulchowk by late April this year. “Every sale that has been made till date has been through our Facebook or Instagram page,” says Khadgi adding that they are also planning to launch a website though they haven’t started working on it yet. “I realize it’s important to have a website for good branding and it will also make shopping at Ramp easier for digitally savvy people. But I also think Nepalis don’t really like to buy things online which is why my main focus is on a retail outlet as of now,” admits Khadgi.
Khadgi, who is also a fourth year BBA student, reveals that he gets inspirations and ideas for his designs through international fashion shows and websites of various high street brands like H&M and Zara. “Fashion shows, in particular, really excite me. There are so many things going on that it’s impossible not to be inspired by at least one thing. Also, surfing through websites of different brands occasionally spark an idea or two,” he says adding that he tries to tweaks his designs to make them unique. Trends aren’t what he is after. “Uniqueness, that’s my main goal while working on any concept or design,” he says.
And indeed Ramp’s clothing articles are literally one of a kind because Khadgi only creates a single product with one design. “If someone really likes a certain item then I might just create a customized copy in their size but, for the most part, I plan on sticking with one item per design. Fashion, I believe, should be about originality and individuality.”
Addressing the fact that most millennials and younger generations try to imitate western celebrities and emulate their fashion choices, Khadgi quips he is not too bothered by it. He thinks it’s fairly common for people to be inspired by things they see around them and try to incorporate it in their lives as well. However, he says, “My only wish is that people would add a little something – it does not have to be anything big or flashy – to give it a little individuality.” Khadgi believes one has to claim fashion and create their own sense of style even when imitating celebrities. That’s the only way you can enjoy fashion and make it a part of your lifestyle, he says.
Ramp itself is working with this very motto for its upcoming summer collection as Khadgi is using traditional Nepali fabrics like Thanka for it. This is also because Khadgi believes that a brand like Ramp that proudly bears the Made in Nepal tag should actually own up to its cultural and lifestyle roots. Though he is unsure as to how commercially viable this might be, he is definitely all up for giving it his best shot. And Khadgi is quite open to experiments and hit-and-trail runs as well. This makes it easier for him to play around with the designs and create pieces that are timeless and one of a kind.
Despite being launched just last November, Ramp has already created multiple collections including their debut collection for the House of Fashion’s Menswear Show at Ai-La Lounge & Restaurant, a Holi collection, and a Valentine’s special collection. But Ramp’s working mechanisms are a bit unconventional when compared to the general workings of launching a collection. Khadgi puts out the pieces one-by-one rather than coming out with the whole collection at once. Ramp’s first summer collection will be displayed at their retail store post its launch and a World Cup special collection is also underway for football fanatics. With Ramp, there is quite a fair bit of fun with fashion to look forward to in the coming months.
Bell-sleeve velvet dress
We firmly categorize velvet as a “winter only” staple but as long as you are up for some adjustments, it can be worn acceptably during summer too. This dress is a good example of that. It’s not tight but still gives a shape to your figure and the bell sleeves give it that distinctive and unique look. Velvet is also regarded as the go-to fabric for party dresses so this could very well be your party dress for the summer season.
Floral two-piece set
Specifically geared for the spring season, this set comes under the luxury lounge wear section. You can wear this at home and then just add some accessories for a fashionable look while going out for a movie or a coffee date with friends. You can also wear the top and the bottom together for a matching chic look or mix them up and wear them individually with other clothes as well.
Black fitted hoodie
You can never go wrong with a hoodie and especially one in black color. And since we are welcoming the warmer weather, this particular hoodie is made of a light and breezy material that will shield you from the harmful rays of the sun while adding a lot of style to your wardrobe. Although designed for casual wear, this hoodie can double up as an active wear.
Brown boyfriend shirt and white pencil skirt
Both of these items are designed for times you want to dress a more formally. But rather than sticking to the conventional, often boring look, that formal wears deliver, these items give a glamorous vibe to formal wear. Just slip on a pair of heels and you are good to go. You can pair them together but both the shirt and the skirt work well with other clothing items too.
Floral shorts and outer set
This is a spring inspired ensemble of shorts and a long cardigan best suited for the warmer weather. In this, Ramp has played with contrasting everyday styles – the shorts are super high waisted and the outer sweeps the floor. This is another set that looks super cute together but also looks good when paired with other items you have in your closet.
White high neck tee
This is a creative spin off of the classic plain white tee. Very basic but timelessly stylish, a plain white tee will never go out of style. Ramp has restyled the basic staple with an intricate high neck design making it a cool item to have in your wardrobe. This piece was also a part of Ramp’s Holi collection. Simple and wispy, this is a must have for the summer season.