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Bora Studio: Creating and promoting sustainable fashion

Meera Gurung: Bora Studio isn’t a luxury brand but is a responsible brand and constantly changes with time

2022 May 16, 10:03, Kathmandu
Naturally dyeing used clothes at the Bora Studio Photo: Instagram

Bora studio was founded in 2017 with the goal of providing the best fashionable quality products while using organic and recyclable materials that are also environmentally friendly. Meena Gurung, the founder of the very studio explains how they use natural fabrics and dye for the garments. “I also recycle used clothes and give them a second life by dyeing and printing naturally, not chemicals”, she says. She aims to create products with high utility value while causing the least amount of environmental damage.

The journey began with a store in Lazimpat, Kathmandu, and a large team of employees. In all of their creations, they used cotton canvas, hand-woven silk, and bamboo fabrics. However, they never used plastic or any low-cost alternatives that jeopardized their goals of being a sustainable brand.

Meena Gurung, founder of Bora Studio
Photo: Instagram
Meena Gurung, founder of Bora Studio Photo: Instagram

However, when Gurung began to run the studio wholly, she started designing her pieces, dyed and stitched them on her own. Sometimes she works from the early hours in the morning to late hours at the night and even throughout the night. She expressed, “I like it much better now as working alone makes me more efficient and creative at the same time.”

What exactly is Bora?

Natural dye is used in Bora Studio's fashion items.
Photo: Instagram
Natural dye is used in Bora Studio's fashion items. Photo: Instagram

Literally, Bora refers to jute sacks. It reflects Nepali life and its reality. She says, “Jute sacks are used repeatedly, from a farmer sowing seeds in his fields to harvesting crops and selling the produce. Jute sacks are environmentally friendly and can be reused.” As every Nepali household has a jute sack lying around, they have already taken a step toward living responsibly. "I wanted my clothing to be the same and reach a larger number of people while also being environmentally friendly," she adds further.

How did Bora Studio start?

Gurung a Fashion Design student in Ireland was required to conduct a case study on the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh which is a garment factory that collapsed due to structural failure. The event made her consider the role as a designer and the importance of ethical work. “I decided then to launch a brand that took responsibility for its actions," she says. Meena returned to Nepal in 2015 and worked for Kabiraj Lama, a prominent Lithographer who introduced her to Nepal's underground fashion industry. She learned about Nepali fabrics, traditional and natural stitching techniques, and art while working with him. "I was truly struck by the potential of Nepal's own resources at this point." "We could use what we had while remaining environmentally responsible and producing high-quality products," she explains.

She uses cotton canvas, hemp, bamboo fabric, and eco printing methods to create tote bags, shawls, casual wear, and formal wear. Gurung explains that it is to promote Nepali fabrics while also shifting people's attention away from fast fashion and toward sustainable and ethical fashion.

Right now, she along with her friends are more focused on sharing awareness programs by conducting workshops to train different age groups and also unprivileged women. By giving this training, they are trying to explain our relationship with nature, and why we need to maintain the balance. Gurung expresses, “We should go greener, buy less and use what we have.”


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