Monday, December 17, 2012


By Gail

Namaste Nepal

A shop in Pokhara (Photo by Gail) Click to enlarge

NEPAL - From November 30 to December 7, 2012 I went for my memorable backpacking trip in Nepal. This historical country has distinctive geographical features including the world’s ten tallest mountains and the highest point on earth, Mt. Everest.

I spent four nights at Kathmandu (the capital city) and the rest at Pokhara, Sarangkot and Nagarkot, living in a hill with an altitude of 1,592 meters and 7,200 ft respectively. Trust me, there are so many things awaiting to be discovered such as ancient architecture, Hindu culture, exquisite mountains and extreme adventure activities. And as a fashion assistant for Fashion Studio Magazine, fashion industry in Nepal was one of the matters I wouldn’t forget to explore! 

Nepali hand-made products (Photos by Gail)

Accessories and other traditional products (Photo by Gail)

Most of Nepali merchandisers provide customers with various styles of beautiful garments and traditional hand-made products (clothes, bags, and accessories) or even national costumes. Traditional men’s clothing is called Daura Suruwal which consists of a long tunic or vest over pants, while women wear a sari which is woven from cotton or silk. It is usually worn with a separate shawl on the upper body, however, surprisingly for tourists, a “shawl” seems to be the most favorable item.

Even though some people may wonder why it has to be made in Nepal or why some clothing stores sell it for a really high price, it is a hand-made knitting product with unique design and wide variety of color combinations. Nepali market offers different quality of the fabrics including pure 100% and mixed, for example Cashmere, Pashmina, Water Pashmina, YAK wool etc. 

Photo by Gail

And here are the most popular fabrics that may be found throughout Nepal:

Yak Wool

Photo by Gail

When the cold winter comes, Yak Wool would probably be the most preferable shawl for tourists because it can make them feel extremely warm!

“Yak” is a long-haired mammal that lives throughout Himalayan and the quality of its soft thick hair can even be compared to the combinations of Merino and Cashmere. “Yak naturally shed their winter coat in the springtime and it is during this season that the nomads collect the wool through combing. For this reason, it doesn’t achieve anything like the yield of wool from sheep. Given where the yak lives, it is no surprise that clothing made from yak wool is considered as warm comparable to cashmere in its soft and luxurious feel.” (Source: 

Photo courtesy of

Originally Yak Wool was worn by Tibetans and then it was adapted to be used in Nepal. Local people think it is quite expensive. However, for tourists just like me, Yak Wool is one of the materials that kept me warm during the nights I stayed in Nepal since most of the guesthouses didn’t provide the heating. So anything warm would really benefit me.

Pashmina and Water Pashmina 

Photos by Gail

If you are looking for something charming and elegant, here’s the silky touch of Pashmina you may want to wrap around the shoulders. It looks as exquisite as Silk. But what is the difference between Pashmina and Water Pashmina? 

Pashmina is made of wool which is obtained from a special breed of goat that lives in the altitude of Himalayas in Nepal, Pakistan and Northern India. Its smooth and softness texture is spun by hands. In contrast, Water Pashmina is woven from silk-viscose then dyed by vivid colors, usually it is more lightweight than the Pashmina and can be worn all year round. Either Pashmina or Water Pashmina can absolutely be matched with any styles of glamour dresses since they are really shiny and prominent. 

Actually, there are several ways you can mix and match the shawl with your favorite clothes or boost as an extra item (depending on what you are going to wear). Either wearing during the day as a chic scarf or carrying for an evening party for a Hollywood look, it can be a “must-have” item for your wardrobe. 

More pictures from Nepal:

All photos by Gail

Gail in Nepal

Read more about Gail's trip to Nepal here

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