Dhaka is a beautiful handwoven fabric from Nepal, with infinite colour and pattern possibilities! It was traditionally handwoven on wooden looms in Palpa and the hilly areas of Eastern Nepal, passed down from one generation to the next.
Anyone who has visited Nepal will see the geometric Dhaka designs on the traditional Nepalese clothing, shawls or traditional men’s ‘topi’ hats, a well-known heritage symbol of Nepalese cultural dress. The designs are all very different and the weaver usually does it by eye, creating the patterns from small bobbins of yarn pulled through the loom warp, using many different colours, which is very labour intensive.
As a designer, it is a delight to see the variety of colour and patterns possible within the Dhaka fabric tradition, though the local tradition seems to be to use every colour under the sun in every design! From a western business perspective, we work with a smaller colour palette and it can also be quite challenging to recreate the same patterns for repeat orders that require more than one batch, especially when working with suppliers in Kathmandu who collect fabrics from weavers in the remote areas of Eastern Nepal. Due to the labour intensive nature of this handwoven fabric, we try to use this material in a considered way within our designs to reduce wastage and have the most impact for our customers for cost-effective products.
The Dhaka fabrics we have used for our 2018 collection use pink, mint and gold thread giving a highly decorative look for our Khusi, Ananta and Tilo purses. This fabric is used mainly for Nepali wedding clothing, so feels very indigenous to Nepal and a fun flurry of colour for evening clutches and purses.
For 2019, we are working with a new producer on a heavy cotton Dhaka fabric to use for bags, cushions and throws which we are excited about! We’re also producing some finer fabric designs with geo patterns in some fantastic colours, which are being produced by our weavers at the moment!