My 3-week adventure with Kaligarh brought me back to the buzzing city of Kathmandu. I first visited the city on a family trekking holiday when I was seven years old, en route to Mustang. The opportunity to go back and see how metropolitan the city has become was amazing. I explored the old kingdom of Patan and worked at the bench alongside the artisans, scooted north of the city to Thamel and perused the bead markets for hidden gems.
Kathmandu has a host of exciting new designers, makers and artists – Nepalis and newcomers. They work from their roots and fuse them with influences from elsewhere to develop new methods and aesthetics. Working with the Kaligarh team I was inspired by the different collections, all of which nod to the past or to the surroundings in some way, adapting shapes, textures and details to create contemporary designs.
The city itself is quite literally bursting with tradition and culture (and traffic), but there are quiet moments too. Armed with a raincoat, I squeezed in long walks across the valley, finding palace squares, independent workshops and hundreds of sculptures along the way! Among all the history, there’s a growing appreciation for the new wave of creatives. From meeting screen printers and graphic designers, writers and jewellery designers, I was glad to get a peek of the new Kathmandu.
Photos and text by Joanna Chmiel. Find her on Instagram and Pinterest.