What to do in Kathmandu?

(If you have been to Nepal, you will have heard that phrase many times!)

To be honest - there is an overwhelming amount to do in Kathmandu – non stop. Not only can you visit all the wonderful heritage sights, there is so much local culture on display and interesting people happy to meet and chat.

Many of you or your friends may have traveled to Nepal. It is such a beautiful friendly country (can anywhere rival the Himalaya's for scenery?!) with thousands of yearly visitors and tourism as the largest industry. Which is why the earthquakes this year have the Nepali's I met very concerned that foreigners will stay away. I often heard of great frustration from friends there at the way the media only shares stories of destruction, when actually in most parts of the city you would not even know the earthquakes had happened. So writing from Nepal, here is my advice for planning your next trip to Kathmandu, which I very much hope you will do!

In my opinion when you visit a country like Nepal you'll have the best experience if you make friends with the locals who will show you the best places to visit, tell you about the culture, traditions, cooking and introduce you to the native foods. Try to speak a few Nepali words and take public transport. You will be warmly received!

I love Kathmandu as much as much I love London. Both are busy, crazy places where you can meet people from all over the world if you are open to it - which of course you should be, because isn’t that the best part that comes free in only a few cities in the world?

In London it is so much more difficult to speak to strangers. By contrast in Kathmandu the people you meet on the streets or on the bus next to you will engage you in a friendly conversation within seconds – no strings attached ;). Sometimes the bus is so full that everyone is laughing and making jokes about sitting on each other’s laps. Have you ever experienced this in London? I think everyday I spent in Kathmandu a new interesting person told me something amazing, or taught me something new – often it only takes a few minutes to listen.

Many travellers, ex-pats or immigrating people pass through or live in Kathmandu and so sharing experiences and impressions with this cosmopolitan whirl of life stories is a fantastic opportunity to open horizons, learn about other lives lived and the great projects that draw people here. A lot of people here do a lot of great things!

Not only is it great to meet Nepali people but also for Nepali people it is great to meet you - learn about other countries and cultures, practice their English, exchange opinions, views and ‘traditions’ they do not know about, so open up!

I can’t recommend Gaia restaurant in Kathmandu enough. I have met some great people there from all over the world. It’s like a little oasis in the crazy city, to relax, enjoy great food, meet people and make friends for life! But of course that is not the only place in the valley, but all I have time for now... I hope you enjoy your adventure!

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Women's Empowerment!

All women have a story to tell…

When I met Tzering the production manager at Besuited, the ‘new’ factory we are working with to produce our dhaka collection, she was extremely happy to hear that we are three women running HTHT. ‘Women power, women power’ she said with a big smile!

Tzering with Ramila, is a sewing machinist at Besuited

Tzering with Ramila, is a sewing machinist at Besuited

Over many years as I've returned to work here in Nepal and have continued to learn about Nepali life and culture, it has become more and more apparent to me how hard it can be to live in a world ruled by tradition, ritual, religion and caste. As much as some of these also bring charm and beauty to Nepal, they can also cause a lot of difficulty and pain.

It is no accident that we have been working with and supporting mainly women workers at the Association for Craft Producers (ACP). Particularly in the many villages across Nepal, women can have a difficult upbringing and are usually married at a very young age. They are expected to raise large families and work extremely hard to provide for them. There is pressure to please their families so as to not damage their reputation, or become an outcast. Falling in love with a man from the ‘wrong’ caste can be fatal.

Here at HTHT, we come from a Western society and generation where we have no fear of speaking out loud, we can have relationships with whoever we want, have children without being married and without being judged for our decision. We have the freedom to pursue a career in almost anything we want and travel the world without worrying if we will be able to return home. Women for generations before us have fought for our rights and we continue this fight. We feel very lucky to live in a part of the world where all these things are possible for us.

Dhana knitting at ACP

Dhana knitting at ACP

Every woman in the world has the same mind – but sometimes it is hidden or suppressed and some women are raised not to speak out loud for fearing the consequences – or fearing for her life. Nobody can tell me, ‘They get use to it – and are happy to go along with it’. Maybe women are skilled at ‘getting on with it’ as they do not have a choice but it doesn’t mean that some of these things shouldn’t change, be brought to our awareness and we need to speak up about them.

I learned from the stories on this trip that the lives of some of the women here have been extremely tough. They can be quite vulnerable on their own which is why working in a safe environment, having a regular income and being independent is incredibly important and empowering for the woman who work for our producer groups, ACP and Besuited. The women who work there in leading roles, women like Meera, the founder of ACP or Srishti and Tzering who are our production managers, are women others can feel inspired and encouraged by; I certainly am.

Srishti and Anna at ACP

Srishti and Anna at ACP

I think we can all feel scared for being judged by what we do, the pressures of society, and those we put on ourselves. Are we doing the right thing? What will people think of me? Am I succeeding? It is not easy to break free from this and to do what we feel like without fearing other people’s opinions. At the end of the day we are all striving to live a happy life and we should not judge other people for what makes them happy. People all over the world deserve to be free from suffering. This requires us all to respect, love and be compassionate to each and every person, no matter where they come from or what they do.

We are also aware that many men face difficulties and challenges all over the world. Together we are stronger, to stand up to oppression, discrimination and injustice!

Travels in Nepal

I arrived in Kathmandu one week ago and in this time, through speaking to friends and overhearing conversations passing by, I have gathered many impressions and stories of the recent earthquakes; where people were, how it has affected them. It was a normal Saturday morning, families gathered together, preparing for a wedding, making food, having a rest, working, walking or driving from A to B, utterly unaware that their lives would change forever in a few seconds when the devastating quakes destroyed lives, families, homes and world heritage sites.

Finding the right words and feelings to describe the aftermath of the earthquake is difficult for me. I am no writer and I will not try to be one, but I will try and share my experiences during my time here.

Having built strong relationships with the people we work with in Kathmandu and the surrounding villages over the last few years and having made many friends, there was no doubt I would come here as soon as I could. I have seen that just being here is appreciated as I can show my support both through friendships and the work I do here.

My first impressions on arriving in Nepal was that everything seems to be the same as ever in the busy streets of Kathmandu, hustle and bustle, colourful, smiling friendly faces and jokes all around.

Nepali women near the Monkey Temple, Photo by Yvonne Brand

Nepali women near the Monkey Temple, Photo by Yvonne Brand

I received such a warm welcome from my ‘Nepali family’ who I stay with in Kathmandu and was invited to their new holiday home, opened recently for tourists and luckily not damaged by the earthquake. Situated an hour away outside of Kathmandu in the beautiful green countryside town Dhulikhel. I travelled there with my Nepali friend Uttam, and was delighted to be one of the first guests of the Gaia holiday home!

There I met a group of Dutch volunteers who are working at a children’s home and hospital and are part of a team called ‘Acupuncturists Without Borders’. They are here giving acupuncture to help ease the anxiety and trauma many people are suffering after the earthquake, and since the first earthquake hit on April 25th the AWB team has provided around 6400 treatments in 8 highly affected areas. Just one example of the many people here helping in Nepal. Amongst them was Yvonne Brand who has kindly shared many of the images shown here.

L-R: Yvonne's father, Yvonne, Uttam, Hari and Anna!

L-R: Yvonne's father, Yvonne, Uttam, Hari and Anna!

Despite many things seeming the same on the surface, there are noticeably less tourists at the moment. But I believe it won’t be long before they will be coming back to visit this incredibly wonderful country and so I must say - if you plan to travel in Nepal I recommend Gaia Holiday Home in Dhulikel and Gaia Restaurant in Kathmandu, it is a treat. Visit their Facebook page for more info.

Gaia Holiday Home

Gaia Holiday Home

After being here a few days, walking through the streets, it becomes clearer how the Earthquake has left visible scars, has left people homeless and without their loved ones. The damage is deep and although the emotional trauma may not be so obviously visible it is clearly undeniable. There is huge anxiety about the months ahead as the Monsoon season starts, and with it the risk of landslides in the mountains and villages, destroying yet more homes, as temporary houses cannot withstand these conditions.

Kathmandu, temporary shelter, Photo by Yvonne Brand

Kathmandu, temporary shelter, Photo by Yvonne Brand

Nevertheless there is hope, determination and belief, to rebuild this beautiful country and look forward to a better future. The help and aid from around the world is hugely appreciated and makes people feel a little bit more secure and confident.

Street art in Kathmandu 'Yesterday - Today', Photo by Yvonne Brand

Street art in Kathmandu 'Yesterday - Today', Photo by Yvonne Brand

I have also spent time with the Association for Craft Producers, who we have worked with now for over 4 years. ACP mainly work with home workers in villages outside Kathmandu. These craftspeople have been affected massively, as not only do they have to rebuild their homes but in many cases their equipment, such as weaving looms, have been damaged making it difficult for them to proceed with their work. They are determined to fulfil orders on time even though we, and every one else is understanding if this is not possible. Meera, the founder of ACP, has set up a programme to help rebuild many houses making them stronger and more durable; the many appreciated donations are distributed to those who need them most. At this point I have to say our artisan knitters have been working tirelessly knitting our knitwear collections and we really appreciate all their great work. We are also glad that the weaving group in Bhaktapur are unharmed and safe.

Last year we started working with a new group called Be-suited who are sewing the hand woven Dhaka cloth and turning our designs into high quality garments. Due to many circumstances the management has changed and we are now happy to build new and exciting relationships with the Nepali team at Be-suited, and by providing this work we hope to contribute to their brighter future.

Besuited in Kathmandu

Besuited in Kathmandu

So all in all the work continues and is making great progress despite the recent disaster and we are excited developing new collections with our Nepali friends for you to see and buy in near future. More updates and news will follow during my stay here.

Namaste, Anna.

Summertime at HTHT

HTHT in London & HTHT in Kathmandu
In the weeks since Nepal has been hit by two terrible Earthquakes our thoughts have not left the country, our friends or artisans. How can we best support everyone in these difficult years ahead? The Nepali people are in the process of rebuilding their country and confidence. More than ever we want to support artisans with work to provide them with livelihoods to create a stable future. We therefore look forward to the continued collaboration with our Fair Trade groups in Nepal. Your support means a lot to all of us.
Our original schedule to visit Nepal has been slightly moved back and is now overlapping with other planned travel and projects. This means that we'll have adjusted studio/shop opening hours this summer and are offering the opportunity to rent a desk space.

Nepal Travels
Anna-Maria will be in Nepal from mid June to mid July. There she will be working hard, overseeing the production phase of our coming winter collection, working on the new AW16 collection as well as continuing to develop our #ProjectDhaka clothing range.
You can stay up-to-date on Anna's travels and get live news from Nepal by following #HTHTinNepal on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and all that jazz.
Open hours
Our new opening times are Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm.
We do however apologise in advance if over the next few weeks we are closed more often than our advertised schedule.
If you ever want to check in advance that we are open before taking the journey, feel free to phone us on 020 7241 0103. Thank you for your understanding.
Desk space
Perhaps you want a change of scenery, to work in a colourful and creative space, or to try something new for one or two days a week. Help us keep the shop open and get a super cheap working space. We have all mod-cons; wi-fi, a colour printer and tea-making facilities. If you want to get creative there are fabrics, threads and sewing machines. To find out more email us at hello@heretoday-heretomorrow.com or give us a call.

Desk space available at HTHT!

 

We are happy to share with our friends and followers a wonderful opportunity that may be of interest to those of you who work from home, freelance or generally work here, there and everywhere. Over the summer, and possibly longer, we are offering desk space at our lovely studio/shop in Dalston, London. Perhaps you want a change of scenery, to work in a colourful and creative space, or try something new for one or two days a week.

Throughout June and July our numbers are depleted; Anna, the intrepid explorer, heads to Nepal for four weeks and Katelyn, our transatlantic connection, is visiting home in the USA, so there are days that the space is available for other people to use.

We have all mod-cons; wi-fi, a colour printer and tea-making facilities. If you want to get creative there are fabrics, threads and sewing machines. There would be a cover charge of just £10 per day to contribute towards these overheads.

The space is of course also a shop. We have opening times of 11-6, Tuesday to Saturday. So if you want to make things to sell in the shop then great!
If you would like to find out more please get in touch, email hello@heretoday-heretomorrow.com or phone 020 7241 0103.

If by any chance you are reading this and have not actually ever been to our shop, click here look at some more images, it really is a lovely place to work!

Brand aid

Dear Friends and Supporters,
In these devastating days after the Earthquake in Nepal and surrounding we have been able to be in touch with some of our friends and artisan groups in Nepal. Although conditions are more than difficult and very frightening, they have not suffered any fatalities or serious injuries, but it is difficult to get through all the information, especially from those who live in the surrounding villages. Our thoughts are with everyone.

We all have the feeling of wanting to help those in need, but not knowing for sure how to reach them.
Through our friends in Kathmandu who have experience working in major aid agencies, mostly International Committee of the Red Cross, we feel we have a network we can trust to channel funds and aid to the people and places it's needed most, without the substantial risk of those funds being wasted through corruption or inefficiency.
 
We are supporting and co-ordinating our relief efforts through an english woman, Alison Marston, who was born and lives in Kathmandu and has the connections, skills and reputation needed to be wholly effective. She is supported by many other friends and organisations who recognise her teams ability and integrity.
Her support chain starts here in London with The Bulldog Trust (Registered Charity No. 1123081 Registered Company No. 06510777), an established, trusted UK charity who forward ALL raised funds to her tightly controlled organisation in Kathmandu, which Alison manages entirely.
 
Anna is due to head out to Kathmandu soon and whilst we hope to be able to work on our collection and see things get back to normal, we know there will surely be the overwhelming atmosphere of a country dealing with this huge disaster. We will be following up, co-ordinating and reporting back on the work Alison and her team are carrying out.
 
We've been in contact with our good friends from other brands who work in Nepal and we want to unite in our efforts together and hope by doing so we can build a bigger fund and more effectiveness on the ground.
 
We are forming a group called 'Brand Aid' and appealing to all those who have a connection to Nepal. Some of you have clothing Brands, some have shops who sell our brands, some of you wear our brands or maybe have been to Nepal for trekking or holidays or have a Nepali or Tibetan friend ...maybe you just feel you want to do something to lend support to them.
 
For all of you who want to show support for them - we want to be stronger together and to show the people there that we are thinking of them and ready to help them in their time of need.
 
We will be sending regular news updates of what projects and people we are reaching.
Please join us and contribute to bring effective relief and to help rebuild their lives in Nepal.

Thank you for your support,
Anna, Julia and Katelyn

Please help us by making a donation now.

BRAND AID for Nepal Earthquake recovery appeal.

This page has been set up to accept donations for the relief and rebuilding of Nepal following the disaster in April 2015. Donations are being collected via the charitable trust, The Bulldog Trust. Please contact Head of grants and philanthropy, Alison Marston at 020 7240 6044 or email alison.marston@bulldogtrust.org for more details.

When you make a donation, don't forget to check the Gift Aid box if you're a UK taxpayer as the charity can claim an extra 25% from the government

We know who made our clothes...

Here Today Here Tomorrow has been working with Fair Trade artisan since 2011. It is never just one person who designs or makes clothing or accessories, it is a whole chain of people working both together and separately. We recognise the importance of valuing each person in the process and of building strong relationships based on trust and respect, which helps understanding from one person to another. Humans make clothes, not machines, machines are just the tools we use. Once we begin to understand this we value and appreciate so much more the clothes we wear.

Our fabulous knitters in Nepal sent us this picture, sporting HTHT knitwear pieces they have helped us develop. We try to visit Nepal every year to work with this talented group of craftspeople, to ensure we have personal connections with them and so that we can say with confidence we know the people who make our clothes earn a fair wage, are treated with respect and enjoy many other benefits of fair trade. More details here.

Anna and Julia with the knitters in Nepal, September 2014

Anna and Julia with the knitters in Nepal, September 2014

Fashion Revolution Day is an opportunity to recognise the gross inequalities and malpractice that exist in the fashion industry, to show solidarity with those campaigning for change and to champion brands that show fairer and more sustainable approaches are possible.

Fashion Revolution Day Approaches!

We have flags out flying our support for the upcoming Fashion Revolution Day on 25th April. 

Fashion Revolution Day
#FashRev #whomadeyourclothes


Get talking and making with us at at our studio shop
Saturday 25th April 2015
From 12pm-5pm

This Saturday, we invite you to see how your clothes are made. We'll be on hand to demonstrate machine knitting, garment sewing and natural dyeing. All the workshops are free so drop in anytime. We want to inspire our customers to be curious about where their clothes come from, who made them and to learn new skills.

This Friday marks the two year anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza, a garment factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 1,133 workers were killed, over 2,500 were injured and countless families continue to be affected by the disaster.

Social and environmental catastrophes in fashion supply chains continue.
Fashion Revolution Day says enough is enough.
 
In remembrance of the victims and to take a stand against how the fashion industry operates we are asking you to get involved. Be active with us this Saturday and join the worldwide movement to question more closely how our clothes are made.

Learning from Nature

We love those days when you can walk around with your eyes truly open and notice the small things. Here's a collection of some of our photos and observations as self professed nature lovers...

So impressed by Lucie Naujalis' Avocado Garden.

So impressed by Lucie Naujalis' Avocado Garden.

Natural dye supplies: Peak District Oak Galls

Natural dye supplies: Peak District Oak Galls

Adding a meadow to the London commute. 

Adding a meadow to the London commute. 

The first day of spring in Hackney Wick Woods

The first day of spring in Hackney Wick Woods

When asked what we did this weekend, we're going to answer with this....Doing our best to live in a Geoff McFetridge illustration.

When asked what we did this weekend, we're going to answer with this....Doing our best to live in a Geoff McFetridge illustration.

A Day in the Life of Here Today Here Tomorrow

Portraits from behind the scenes in the the shop and studio that is very dear to our hearts...

Way to start a sunny Saturday in the shop! #knittingmachine class.

Way to start a sunny Saturday in the shop! #knittingmachine class.

The thrill of arranging new spring colours from Antiform and Outsider.

The thrill of arranging new spring colours from Antiform and Outsider.

Wonderful to have the Antiform folks in store for our LFW Showroom and they left us with this lovely photograph of the shop. Can't wait to see you guys again.

Wonderful to have the Antiform folks in store for our LFW Showroom and they left us with this lovely photograph of the shop. Can't wait to see you guys again.

Purse, meet rotary hole punch. Rivets, coming up. Getting ready to release the new Fair Trade Handwoven dhaka collection.

Purse, meet rotary hole punch. Rivets, coming up. Getting ready to release the new Fair Trade Handwoven dhaka collection.

Picnic German-style.  Living the kindergarden life. 

Picnic German-style.  Living the kindergarden life. 

Journey of Jeans: An Infographic

With this infographic we attempted share a glimpse into some of the very complex global systems of garments' lives through the lens of one type of clothing: the pair of jeans. For instance, did you know that 1 in 8 pieces of clothing bought worldwide is a pair of jeans?

But even from this simplified viewpoint, is it possible to relate to statistics about millions of dollars and billions of kilos? Probably not. But by having a browse we hope you get enough sense of the truly global reach of these ubiquitous objects in your wardrobe to see them in a new way. 

The Journey of Jeans is a Cultural Institute at King's project and is a collaboration between Dr Andrew Brooks of the Geography Department at King's College London and Katelyn Toth-Fejel of Here Today Here Tomorrow and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Much of the research comes from Andrew's new book, Clothing Poverty; The hidden world of fast fashion and second-hand clothes. Also with new illustrations from stories of the 'craft of use' (of jeans!) gathered by the Local Wisdom Project. Please enjoy and feel free to share. Download a high resolution copy here

London Fashion Week AW15 Showroom

This weekend we're exhibiting our AW15 Fair Trade knitwear collection alongside two of Europe's most exciting sustainable brands Antiform and Aluc.

This gives you a chance to meet the designers, see the collections and ask questions about who, how and where these beautiful products are made. 

We're particularly excited to be hosting Berlin-based brand Aluc as they make their London debut. 

For buyers: In season orders and pre orders for AW15 can be taken directly on these days.

To make an appointment or request a look book from either of the brands, please email:
hello@heretoday-heretomorrow.com
info@antiformonline.com
nina@aluc.eu

Details

20th - 24th February 2015
Here Today Here Tomorrow, 30a Balls Pond Road, Dalston, London N14 AU

Happy New Year, hello 2015!

Hello Hello Everyone,

We wish you all a very Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed your Christmas breaks, maybe you even got some snow like Anna in Deutschland?! (Always keen for some authentic woolly product testing opportunities!)

As we slowly return to the working life again, we look forward to all that is ahead of us. Each new year brings a few new years resolutions, changes and challenges!

Emma, who from the very start has been one of the Here Today Here Tomorrow team (aka the A-Team) is moving on to pursue her PhD and other interesting projects - naturally in the name of sustainable fashion. We would like to thank Emma for all her help and hard work in setting up HTHT, we wish her all the best in future - and hopefully still see her around, at least once in a while to do the bearcat dance with us!

Photo: Taken in 2011- our first Knitwear Collection together!

Photo: Taken in 2011- our first Knitwear Collection together!

Anna-Maria, Julia and Katie continue as a trio, facing new and exciting adventures with our first trade shows in Germany, showing our AW15 fair trade collection. Visit us, we love your support! We will be in Berlin with Antiform at  The Ethical Fashion Show from 19th-21st Jan. 2015. From there we head southwest to  Innatex Messe Frankfurt in Hofheim-Wallau from 24th-26th Jan! Unfortunately the shop will be closed during this time, if we could work out how to be in two places at once we would do it!

Then it is nearly February! Our Kickstarter Dhaka Project deadline! We have been working hard on getting all the details of production refined and we aim to be able to send out the project rewards to our supporters at the end of February or early March.

I think this will keep us busy for now...we will let you know how we rock n' roll on...

We wish everyone time, love, good health and energy to make it a good year,

DA DA DA, the new Trio-Team ;)