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Himalayan Spirit 8848
Joshua Leslie Sherchan always had an innate sense of style and love for fashion. Perhaps a gift from his designer mother, Shakun Sherchan. The Nepali-American designer works with his mother and has created a fashion brand called Himalayan Spirit 8848. A student of political science, Joshua finally gave in to his passion dedicating the last three years to learning and training in the design process right from the basics. For Joshua the design process comes from his soul and Himalayan Spirit 8848 is an expression of his individual place in the world.
What is it like to work with your mother?
Working with my mother is probably the most difficult, but one of the most rewarding aspects of my life currently. Difficult in the sense that we are both strong willed people who need to be right. When it comes to making decisions about products, colours or the many other facets of owning a label, we can have some very intense discussions before mutually agreeing upon a decision. She has high expectations and is very demanding of the work we do, so we have to separate our work and family life to not let work affect our relationship. It was much more difficult to separate this at the beginning but over the past three years of working together, it has gotten easier to understand, for both of us, when our demands come from a place of work or from a mother to her son.
One of the most rewarding aspects is that my mother has been working in fashion in Nepal for over 30 years. That is a lot of collected experience that cannot be taught, so I am very fortunate to have her guide me and show me everything she has learned. There are so many pieces to bring together a single product that having someone guide me through the different people required to complete it is truly priceless. The number of different, helpful individuals I have met that work in design and garments in Nepal would have taken a lifetime if it was not for my mother.
For me, designing comes from my soul. And it’s reality from hard work. I have never really looked up to designers; yes, some of them have provided a different perspective in which to create a piece or design, but for me, it comes from all the world around me. So other designers only have as much influence over a piece as my stylish friends, the natural environment and the streets of the world. If I see a design (it can be something someone is wearing, a random internet picture or a pattern found in nature) that I like, I will quickly do a sketch or take a photo that then goes into a folder of all my saved work, and when the designs have an urge to come out, I go back into the folder and look at how to bring my own style and sense into the pieces I have collected.
Most challenging aspect of your work
Production. Turning a piece into reality (reality being a number of those pieces produced and ready for sale) is probably the most challenging aspect of my work. I have a collection of almost finished samples or unfinished drawings. They require small changes, but when designing for you is about feeling, it sometimes takes time to feel what certain pieces require. I find it amazing how quickly my mother can turn over a whole collection from idea to samples in no time something which I hope to get better at. And then when it is turned into reality, accepting that it will be imperfect with the knowledge that everything, the longer you look at it, can only ever be improved.
Also trying to work from Kathmandu to sell in both the USA and Nepal has been very difficult. The lie of modernity and technology is the appearance that you can be everywhere at once and be successful quickly. But, from opening an online store in the USA and living in Nepal at the same time, I have begun to question whether one can be successful doing both. I cannot deal with my US inventory or go to markets or interact with people there, and with the Nepali market being very small and competitive, I wonder if this is something that can have long term viability. So I have learned to slow down, and do other things while working on my label. The plan now is to slowly build my brand and style over the next few years while also focusing on other aspects of my life.
Your personal style
It is fluid, and dependent on what I see and feel around me. I channel those thoughts into designs, and if they don’t come out right, I learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them. Some of the pieces I am most proud of were made with doubt and fear of it not coming out well. So I do my best not to fear making mistakes. Also, as fashion is a world that is dependent on what other people think, I try not to care of what they would think. Of course, I want them to buy the products, but not when I am trying to design or come up with a final piece. If you care too much of what other people think, you will lose your sense of individuality and make another piece of clothing that has already been made without you, the person putting in your hard work and soul, adding any value. What’s the point of that? Why recreate the world as it is when you can use your imagination to create?
Can we expect new creations anytime soon?
Yes, we have soft released our fall winter collection in a few of our outlets, but the recent incidents in Nepal have slightly delayed our online release. Most of our products have been online from mid-December though.
Where are your products currently available?
Illy/Vaude in Lainchaur
Pasal in Babar Mahal
Online at www.himalayanspirit8848.com