Nepali grooms are giving up Dhaka daura-suruwals. What’s the new fabric they are wearing?

Groom Nabin Budhathoki wearing brocade daura suruwal along side his bride in their wedding day. Photo: Nabin Budhathoki

About three months ago, wearing a set of brocade daura-suruwal, dhaka topi, velvet shawl, belt, and shoes, groom Nabin Budhathoki got off the decorated car and walked towards the bride’s house. A procession of janti followed him, talking about the new kind of attire Budhathoki has styled himself in on the big day.

Budhathoki shares with the janti (attendants), “I chose to wear a brocade daura-suruwal set as it is in the wedding fashion trend nowadays.”

Budhathoki is not the only groom who has dressed up in the brocade daura suruwal for their weddings this season. These days, at least in Kathmandu, grooms in traditional Dhaka daura-suruwal have become rare. Many tailors and fashion designers have styled their clients in different fabrics such as brocade this year.

Mannequins wearing regular cotton daura suruwal and brocade daura suruwal outside a wedding attire shop in Bangemudha. Photo: Nasana Bajracharya

Owners of the decades-old and recently operated wedding attire shops in and around Bhedasingh of Kathmandu are the people who have felt the change in the grooms’ fashion in recent years.

Escalating brocade business

Prabin Shakya, 35, who has been running Shakya Store at Keltole for more than 15 years after inheriting it from his father Tritha Muni, says it has just been about a decade that Dhaka daura-suruwal took over the western-style suit as grooms’ wear in most Nepali weddings, but the Dhaka set could not last its popularity long.

“When we started our shop, most people would use Dhaka only to make topi (cap) and cholo (blouse),” Shakya says, adding, later men started wearing Dhaka daura-suruwal as the wedding dress.

“We also gradually started adding materials and fabrics as per the demand and trend of the market.”

Groom Nabin Budhathoki along with his father and big-father before the janti procession. Photo: Nabin Budhathoki

But, it changed again. Shakya reports that around 75 per cent of his customers are choosing to wear brocade daura-suruwal at their weddings this season. “The Dhaka daura-suruwal that has overtaken as the standard wedding dress for Nepali grooms has been disappearing since two years ago after the arrival of brocade daura-suruwal fashion trend in Nepal.”

Collection of fabrics inside a wedding cloth shop in Bangemudha. Photo: Nasana Bajracharya

Badri Karmacharya, who owns a similar shop as Shakya’s, called Royal Daura Suruwal at Bangemundha, also shares a similar story. Karmacharya who is handling this two-decade-old family business says that it has been about a year since the brocade daura-suruwal became a choice for most Nepali grooms. 

“This wedding season, the business of Dhaka daura-suruwal for grooms has declined significantly.” 

Mohan Krishna Shrestha, the owner of Vastra Pahiran, also says that very few customers came to him for Dhaka daura-suruwal sets for grooms this time.

“About a year ago, it was like 50 per cent Dhaka daura-suruwal sets and the other half brocade,” Shiva Dhital, who has been owning the five-decade-old Purano Rastriya Daura Suruwal Tailors, reports, “This year, less than 5 per cent of people have chosen to put on Dhaka groom sets.”

What’s different anyway?

According to Dhital, the brocade fabric is costlier than Dhaka clothes. “However, the cost generally depends on the quality of both fabrics and stitching quality of the finished dress.”

As per the proprietors of such shops, a readymade set of Dhaka daura-suruwal for a groom costs from Rs 5,000 to Rs 9,000 while the price of a brocade daura-suruwal set starts from Rs 8,000.

Mannequin wearing brocade daura suruwal outside Vastra Pahiran. wedding attire shop. Photo: Nasana Bajracharya

In addition, Karmacharya adds, “Brocade is mostly Indian and Dhaka is manufactured in Nepal only. Therefore, we mainly recommend our customers to wear Dhaka daura-suruwal on their wedding day as Dhaka is more Nepali. It sets our identity apart from other nationalities.”

Corroborating Karmacharya’s statement, Dhital also says, “Dhaka daura-suruwal is a perfect wear for Nepali grooms. Brocade fabric was used for sewing blouses, lehengas and sherwani a few years back.”

Nonetheless, the trend of brocade daura-suruwal has begun now and is on the rise as there is a tendency to follow or imitate what others have done. Even the cost and the identity come secondary in front of trends, views Dhital.

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Budhathoki was a correspondent at Onlinekhabar from February 2020 to February 2022.

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