The Magic of Touch

A rookie player in the Pashmina market impresses with elegant designs and market know-how.

A fabric raised in the lap of the Himalayas, as home grown as it can get, Pashmina has always been a part of the appeal of Nepalese handicraft. Over the years there have been imitations and machine-made ernatives, However, the strong demand for Nepalese handmade pashmina proves that it still has a good standing and reputein the international handicraft market. The early part of the 2000s saw it struggle to overcome the aforementioned alternatives but as they say, the cream always rises to the top and the good quality provided by the  Nepalese  manufacturers has kept the industry afl oat and now looks to push it to further glory.

The Pashmina industry has certainly blossomed over  the years and Thamel (no surprise) has been the hotbed that has seen its rise, amouring visiting tourists for years now. Walking along the Sanchaykosh building in Thamel and heading deeper into the tourist hub, NPI Collection is on the left side of  the street. The shop boasts of some  of the fi nest pashmina in the city. At the store, Prem Thapa explaines about the different types of pashmina on offer, “We have mostly 100% pashmina and their prices vary according to the grade of the pashmina.”

The store  proprietor Sunil Shrestha elaborated further, “We try to give customers rare designs and something unexpected.

It is our goal that customers be surprised that such designs are even available.” The pashmina range starts from Rs 3200 - customers are offered retail discount. A unique product is the 35 gm, 100% pashmina stole that  is light as a feather and fi ts easily on the palm of your hand. For a cool 8000 rupees, this would make a great  gift for a loved one - allowing him or her to always think of you when they are warm and cozy. Also available at the store are cardigans, stoles and blankets, and the designs are truly a treat for the eye as well as to touch. The store is fairly new, having opened only 2 months ago.

Its prime location reinforces how well the pashmina  industry has done in Nepal. Even the domestic production of pashmina is said to have increased in the last few years through good sales and promotion. “It is about the feel, touch and the design of the products and that’s what draws in the customer,”

added Thapa. Indeed, with a wide variety of designl, the future looks good for the  pashminatindustry and NPI Collection along with it. Currently in its off-season, the Thamel market may not bedteeming with customers. All the more reason to shop for your loved ones abroad or to get a great bargain for yourself.