KATHMANDU, Nov 6: Nilima Maden Limbu is a rising fashion designer and a beauty queen. Waiting for her final-year results in Bachelor’s in Fashion Designing from IEC College of Art and Fashion, the 23-year-old is busy fulfilling her duties as the title holder of Miss Limbu. She may be just three years old in the world of fashion, but she’s already on her way to being a name to reckon with.
Her designs have been strutted down the runway at TGIF Nepal Fashion Week in 2011 and Trendsetters in 2012 and she was also one of the in house designers for the House of Alternative Apparels.
Her red evening gown for Samriddhi Rai for the Miss Tourism Queen International pageant in 2011, and more recently, the nude and blue gown worn by Shristi Shrestha at the Miss World pageant this year also created waves.
The cost for a Nilima Maden gown starts from Rs 9,000. Nilima is ambitious, optimistic and determined. Matched with hard work, no doubt, she will soon be very successful.
Let’s start with the beginning. Why fashion designing?
I was always good at sketching and I was also creative. Like all young girls, I would play with dolls. I started designing clothes for them and soon older girls from my school suggested that I go into fashion designing. I was in class 9 when I did some research and I was seriously interested. However, my parents were a bit skeptic and wanted me to study management. But then, I didn’t want to regret, so I joined IEC.
Have there been any changes in your vision as a designer in the last three years?
My designs have always tended to lean towards couture than easy-to-wear clothes. I like seeing my creativity come to life. Many people say that my clothes aren’t very wearable, and during my seven-month stint at the House of Alternative Apparels, I learnt to channel my creativity to produce easy-to-wear clothes. Personally, I like designing clothes that are androgynous but it’s my gowns and blouses that are in demand.
And how did Miss Limbu come about?
I had actually gone there in the capacity of a designer and I had no intention of participating in the pageant. It was my relatives who pointed out that I could also participate as I had all the qualifications needed for it. The competition was tough but I was confident. I enjoyed the whole process as I learnt a lot. This made me realize how much I was actually missing out on not knowing the intricacies of my own culture.
What are some of the biggest challenges that an upcoming fashion designer faces here?
The lack of good fabric and other materials is the first problem we have to encounter. And what we do is compromise. The other problem is quite well known. I believe many of us know that some established designers buy clothes from somewhere else and pass it off as their designs on the runway. That’s very demoralizing to the ones who are just beginning in this field. I also see many boutique owners who have little understanding of the concept of a boutique. I suggest they learn and only put good clothes, and their own designs, too, in their boutiques. But having said all that, the future looks pretty good. I’m working with The Highland Art where I design clothes made of dhaka. Many of my batch mates are already getting offers from films.