Erina Shrestha, founder and designer at Lakhey Nepal is finding her space in the realm of fashion and modern apparel. Lakhey Nepal is a Nepali clothing brand founded with the vision of creating unique and stylish clothes that represent the essence of Nepali culture and heritage.
What is Lakhey Nepal all about?
Lakhey Nepal is all about eye to detail, quality materials, authentic designs, art works, good customer services, subtle designs, promoting Nepali fabric and making a difference by promoting/ supporting small scale garment industries that employ sand gives training to men/women who want to earn a living from it. With a tagline of "Culture in every stitch," the brand is dedicated to promoting traditional Nepali fabrics and art through contemporary clothing. The brand was founded with the vision of creating unique and stylish clothing that represent the essence of Nepali culture and art. The use of traditional Nepali fabrics, combined with modern designs and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, creates a fusion of old with the new, that appeals to fashion-conscious individuals who appreciate the beauty of handcrafted products.
How did you end up starting the brand and why did you choose to venture into the clothing industry?
I have always wanted to be a fashion designer and own a proper clothing brand here in Nepal. Growing up I could never find decent clothes while shopping. It was frustrating as most clothes found were for skinny body type and you could tell the quality was very bad. All the rejected pieces from India, China and Thailand were being sold here. Since then I knew what was missing in the Nepali market. We couldn’t find proper clothing brands/shops that took responsibility for quality and customer services that sold clothes with good materials and which could survive for years after the purchase. While studying fashion, I also got to know so much about the production process and how some famous international brands were producing their garments here in Nepal itself, which gave me the idea of starting Lakhey Nepal.
Please take us through your creative process, right from the design concept to the end product.
To explain it in a simpler way, it all starts with a basic idea. I sit with my team and discuss how to step up the design game. We come up with a few different versions of the same design. Once we finalize the design we go with it and hunt for the fabrics or produce our own. Then I personally sit with our head masterji and make a sample. Once the sample is tested out, we send it for production which normally takes about 3 to 4 weeks. Then we send it to our creative team, we discuss on our theme and mood boards then take pictures to start our campaign. Then finally we launch it on our websites and social pages.
What is the story behind your brand?
Lakhey Nepal was established with a mission to preserve and promote Nepali craftsmanship and art though garments for everyday wear. Our clothes are made using traditional Nepali fabrics such as Khadi, cotton, bamboo, Dhaka, (many more) which are sourced from local artisans and some are even hand-woven using age-old techniques. These fabrics are then combined with modern designs and cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to create contemporary clothing that is both stylish and comfortable to wear. The brand's focus on promoting Nepali craftsmanship and art has made it a popular choice for those who appreciate the beauty of handcrafted products. Through its clothing, Lakhey Nepal aims to tell the story of Nepal's rich cultural heritage, and to share the beauty of its traditional fabrics and art with the world. Whether you're looking for a special outfit for a special occasion or simply want to incorporate a touch of Nepali culture into your everyday wardrobe, Lakhey Nepal has something for everyone who appreciates the beauty of traditional craftsmanship.
Can you talk about your product line?
We mainly focus on women’s formal, smart wear and casual wears. We have varieties of products such as overcoats, blazers, suits, tailored shirts, pants, sweaters and much more. We have recently launched our lounge wear collection made of skin friendly fabrics such as Mulmul and Nepali cotton. Our best seller is chaubandi cholo lounge wear that captures the essence of Nepali garment style. We also have a baby line named Lakhey Baby with varieties of products for new born to two-year-olds. From baby blankets, pillow, mattress to mulmul bhoto sets and baby sweaters, all are available.
Where do you source raw materials from?
Most fabrics we use we produce ourselves, if not source it from local vendors.
How many collections have you launched till date?
We normally launch two collections every year. Spring/summer and autumn/winter but due to launch of a few more lines such as lounge wear and Lakhey baby as mentioned above, I’ve lost count. Perhaps ten plus collections till now for sure!
What are some of your best sellers?
Hands down our Madhubani hand painted shirts are our best sellers. It’s made in plain white or off white cotton shirts, a basic formal wear with Mithila art done on its right sleeve. The art is hand painted by our artisan who is a very skilled lady from Janakpur. Our chaubandi cholo lounge wear is also one of our best sellers. Our customers love the garment design as we have got lots of feedback saying it makes them feel like home especially our international Nepali customers. They’re made of a skin friendly material and have a soft feel.
You have also ventured into the baby apparel? Where did that idea come from?
It all started from when my niece was born back in 2020. My mom was looking for proper mulmul bhoto sets for her, as mulmul and cotton fabrics are recommended by doctors for their sensitive skins. She was also looking for baby blankets, mattresses and mustard seed pillows for her; it was so difficult to find one. We somehow managed to find bedding sets but as for the mulmul bhoto sets, the quality was bad and so were the stitches. I wonder how new parents manage to find quality Nepali clothes for their baby. That’s how I got an idea to have a one stop brand/shop for baby items specially for new born to 2- year-olds. All products under Lakhey baby is made with extra care for the new souls.
What are the challenges you faced as a brand that’s solely based on Nepali upliftment?
I think you need to have a good team with you that can come through any situations. The number one challenge for me overall is timing. At first it was very tiring to get anything done on time and Nepali people are very good at procrastination. To solve this and make work look less like work, I always make it a point to motivate my team especially those involved in the production line and appreciate their time and effort given to Lakhey. You have to be that someone who they look up to and go to when they need help. I try to make my working space welcoming and work as a team. I think that makes a difference and also solves the problem itself.
What are you working on right now?
I recently finished with my Summer Lounge Wear launch and now I am working on my summer collection. We are in the starting phase, designing and experimenting.
Do you plan to expand your product offerings in the future?
Yes, of course I want Lakhey Nepal to be more than a clothing brand. In ten years, I want Lakhey to be a one stop for fashion enthusiasts. I hope we can create a brand that has all items covering from head to toe some day.