Earlier this year on April 22nd, a model hunt was organized at Karma Lounge in Kathmandu. The hunt was on in search for the best models who would win the titles of Face of Nepal and represent Nepal at Asia Model Festival in Korea. At the end of the competition; Sandipa Limbu and Praveen Rana were announced the winners. Aruni Waiba and Arick Bikram Thapa had won the positions of second runners up in the same event.
Cut to June; the two winners and two runners up — Sandipa, Praveen, Aruni and Arick — left for Korea to represent Nepal at Asia Model Festival (AMF) where the models from over two dozen nations across Asia had gathered. It was the second time Nepal was taking part in the festival after Alka Rai, Paramita RL Rana, Ritesh Raj Gurung and Bhaskar Baniya represented Nepal in 2016.
Team Nepal this year also consisted of last year’s delegates — Alka, Paramita and Ritesh — who acted as the managers and guided the delegates through their AMF journey.
AMF kicked off on June 17th at Namsangol Hanok Village with Hanji Fashion Show. On 23rd, a part of the festival took place at Janchung Arena. And next day on 24th, Asia Model Awards took place.
A video from the event was released earlier this week on Monday. It was from Asia Traditional Costume Fashion Show segment. Take a look at what the models from various countries wore at the ramp during the show.
And then came….. Team Nepal.
This is not right.
These are not Nepali traditional dresses.
What did just happen??
As soon as this video was released on Facebook, Nepali people became furious. They were not happy that suits and gowns were worn by Nepali delegates during Traditional Costume segment, and not Daura-Suruwal and Gunyu-Choli. And of course, they started commenting what they thought about team Nepal’s attire. The video that has over 750,000 views in less than four days — the highest in any videos posted by Asia Model Festival ever — has over 4000 comments, most of them being complaints and even abusive comments.
So what exactly happened at AMF? Why were the Nepali delegates not wearing Nepali traditional dresses?
“Traditional wear was fully planned and a very good designer was asked to design them. Everything was finalised a month ago and we trusted the designer on delivering within the scheduled time. On the day we were leaving for Korea, the designer met us at airport and gave us some dresses. As it was planned that they would be designing the traditional wear, we were convinced that they did the job and didn’t actually check the bag for dresses”, Alka Rai told NeoStuffs.
“The designer told us that they would send us the remaining accessories by cargo. But as soon as we reached Korea and checked the stuff, it turned out not be the dresses they had committed to make”, she added. “We still had hope that the right dresses would be delivered before the main event but that didn’t happen.”
“When the day came and the models had to wear the traditional dresses, we didn’t have them. We couldn’t back out from the scheduled event as that would have not only resulted in this year’s disqualification but might have also affected the future opportunities for Nepal at the festival. We had to make a sudden decision and that is why the models had to wear what we had with us — Manish Rai’s designs — which were not exactly made for that very segment; but we had no choice left.”
“We admit that it was our mistake and we should have been more careful and prepared. We wanted to represent Nepal in best possible way but a mishap changed everything. We apologize for hurting the sentiments of our people”, Rai said.
Model Sandipa Limbu, too, is not happy about what happened. “We, the team from Face of Nepal, would like to apologize to all the strong voices thay felt disheartened because of the faulty attire in the traditional round. We didn’t mean to offend anybody, and it was the last minute choice we had to make. The team acknowledges the mistake and would like to apologize”, she said.
We are glad that our delegates represented Nepal at a prestigious platform; and it would have been great if everything went as planned. While we are busy thrashing our delegates for the mishap, let us not forget the good things they were able to achieve. The models were appreciated by the international designers and even the organizers. Sandipa and Aruni even won some titles. While Sandipa was announced the ambassador of Jeju Air, Aruni won a sub-contest by Korea Revisit.
They did make a mistake, unintentionally, but they did. And they have admitted it and even apologized for what happened. Do you still think these people deserve all your hate? Can’t we just give them a break now? We all make mistakes. We’re sure they have learned from their mistake and the same will not be repeated in the future.
You can watch the event here.