During a few days stay at a relatives in November 2018, I sat there making notes and endless plans on my phone. There were conversations in plenty and people playing cards but I was there scribbling ideas for what would go onto become the Pride Nepal Tees.
Scribbling the design was easy. It didn’t require much thought and it showed (above). I quickly thought about people I knew who could step into doing the graphics and perfecting my doodles. I quickly reached out to Swapnil, Bhanu, Arutosh and Sikum. Ideas and excitement unfolded.
Due to busy schedules, I decided to move ahead with the designs shared by Arutosh and Sikum. Both individuals who collaborated in a volunteer capacity. I am super thankful for that and their support in taking this further.
I had toyed with the idea of bringing out Nepal themed Pride t-shirts for a while because I hadn’t seen something like that. Whenever I saw celebrities or people I knew distantly wear Pride tees or share posts during Pride, it made me think – they’re on my side. It was an innocent thought and somewhere deep down, I still think like that. I wasn’t too sure about the difficult part though; producing, marketing and selling. At that moment, I wasn’t clear on whether I wanted the t-shirts to reach far or to make a statement by simply selling a limited amount and maximising its visibility.
Working alongside Sikum and Arutosh, they saw my ideas and ran with their own imagination. They helpfully turned around plenty of designs of which I selected just a few. I had the perfect people in mind to model the tees too! A bit of thinking and calling for people on social media landed me with Esan Regmi, Niranjan Kunwar, Piroo, Angel Lama and Bandika! The idea was for a quick studio shoot in Kathmandu in February, 2019.
When the actual day of the shoot came about I quickly realised that the tees, the design size and print was not going to work at all. I felt super bad for using up the time of all these individuals who agreed to come and wear the tee! Fortunately, Niranjan’s friends who came gave some feedback on the designs not being as inclusive. It was there that they shared I give Dishebh a call and work on a design that gave a better picture of Nepal – beyond mountains.
So February, 2020 shoot was officially a dud.
After getting a new design from Dishebh, I decided to opt for a London photoshoot with Safal, Abiskar, Subi and Yog. We did a cute Instagrammy shoot in London with Arutosh and Mahen from VisionHive! Arutosh also did the PRIDE Mountain design. I was more than pleased with the tees and the photos.
The photos from the London shoot was released in May 2019. A month later, I was back in Nepal. I had another opportunity to get it right.
I decided to go with Bandika, Angel, Niranjan, Piroo and Suvam and working alongside Rashik and his StockPhotography Nepal team, we got the photos taken in locations across Patan and Thamel.
I quickly realised that selling the tees was going to be an uphill task due to communication challenges between myself and the Metaphor team. I wanted to make sure this was more a statement making campaign. I had many celebrity friends on-board, people who I knew would be happy to wear the tee and share photos.
Along with the visible faces, it was important that the tees were modelled by Nepalis from UK and Nepal of diverse gender and sexuality. Their photos were supported by a mini interview where they shared about what love and being themselves meant for them.
Along the way sales from the tee supported Unity for Change, a Nepal based LGBT organisation in 2020 to support Covid19 relief, IndreniLingo, a queer event held in Darjeeling (India) and to support Queer Youth Group in Nepal.
Thank you to everyone who showed interest, shared, liked, commented and purchased the tees from across the world.
You can visit PRIDE NEPAL tag to read about the different people modelling the Pride tees!