So, once again I have to admit I'm a bit behind in the social networking front. What with my recent discovery of Polyvore, Stumble Upon and Fancy, I am slightly ashamed to admit that I have, only now, discovered the wonders of Pinterest. And wonderous it most  surely is! I love this idea of digital scrapbooking, it makes nomadic life a little less stressful knowing that even if my beloved Mac gets stolen (god help me) at least I can rest assured all my inspirations are locked away somewhere in digital cyberspace. So, making full use of this beautiful site, my eclectically patterned brain has been busy pinning away ethnic inspirations, catergorising them into boards of interiors, fashion, accessories and homeware. Go on, have a look at my pin boards for more ethnic inspirations like these spectacularly vibrant interiors!!!

All images on this post are copied from Pinterest. 


[ INDRA JATRA ] Bhaktapur, Nepal


Whilst meandering around the beautiful red brick streets of Bhaktapur the other day, I came across masses of these costume clad girls. Adorned head to toe in brightly coloured fabrics: red and gold patterned metallic silks, luminous pink veils, marigold-yellow headbands and sashes, and copious amounts of dangling silver jewellery, it must be time for the Indra Jatra Festival

One of the most important festivals in the Newar calender, the eight day Indra Jatra takes place in and around the Kathmandu Valley in early to mid September, marking the end of the rainy season. Giving thanks to Lord Indra, the God of Rain and the King of Heaven processions and dances are performed, one of the most important being that of the procession of the Royal Kumari Devi, a preadolescent 'living goddess' who is taken around Kathmandu's Durbar square to give thanks to the rain god and to bless the President of Nepal.

So, with the plethora of pomp and traditional dress on display, obviously I couldn't help but take some snaps. If you like what you see and fancy a look at some more traditional Nepalese dress, take a look at my earlier post on Dhaka Topi hats!




In case you may be new to this blog (welcome along!) I'd just like to readdress the issue of my undying lust for everything made by the wonderous Free People. There yet fails to appear a rival to this brand that endlessly delivers me with beautiful, folksy, bohemian, ethnic inspired fashion. My only wish is that it would pack itself up and fly over the Atlantic to London so that I wouldn't have to pay the postal fees! Anyway, to the point, today I would like to draw your attention to Free People's tasslerific AW 2011 collection of fringed bags. Below are some of my favorite picks from the collection - they'd go great with that Native American Fringed Blanket Coat from Etsy, or a pair of those winter moccasins, don't you think? Click on the links below to make a speedy impulse buy through Polyvore, or at freepeople.com before you change your mind! 



[ HEMP PIXIES ] Patan, Nepal

Nepalese shoes, handwoven, hemp, sustainable style, ethnic style, wandering style
Nepal, shoes, handmade, woven, ethnic style, traditional culture, wandering style, Kathmandu
Aren't these the cutest little shoes?! I found a bunch of these traditional, handmade Nepali hemp slip-on's being sold around the craft laden streets of Patan on the outskirts of Kathmandu. Like little pixie shoes, they'd be great for wandering around these dusty old UNESCO heritage streets, not so great in the rainy season though! If you're a fan of hemp or want to know more about its sustainable properties you should check out my earlier post from Pokhara (hint hint!).



[ THREAD LUSTINGS ] Viral Threads on Etsy

So with all the wonderful things I keep finding online that I wish I was stationary enough to purchase and wear/use, I've decided to start categorising them into Thread Lustings. In keeping with my recent handwoven Nepali style finds I've decided to dedicate this post to this rather colourful '80's vintage Native American fringed blanket coat from Viral Threads on Etsy. Don't you think it would look amazing with a fringed bag, distressed denim shorts and maybe some ethnic moccasins or calf length boots like the ones shown here


[ TEA COSY OR HAT? ] Patan, Nepal

India was all about the women, Nepal is, most definitely, all about the men. They are of the cheerfully obliging variety and will happily pose for you, grinning mischievously as you snap away. Not only is this a great asset to my budding global photographic collection but its a great way of showing all of you the particulars of Nepalese traditional dress!

Shirts, trousers, waistcoats and flip flops - all very standard and obviously a practicality- but what's that on their heads? Is it a tea cosy? Is it a tea cosy worn as a hat? Actually its just a hat, a dhaka topi to be precise. Dhaka referring to the type of traditional, handwoven fabric and topi, referring to the lightly worn, top creased, brimless hat. This evidently popular item of Nepalese national dress is worn with much pride throughout the country on a daily basis, unlike the rest of the outfit, the daura suruwal or labeda suruwal (essentially a long tunic over trousers) which is reserved for special ceremonial occasions. So there you have it, an ethnic style 101 from the streets of Patan.



[ MUST READS ] Culture to Catwalk by Kristin Knox

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of this book for over a year and I'm excited to announce its now finally here: Culture to Catwalk - How World Cultures Influence Fashion by American born, London resident and fashion blogger Kristin Knox

I had the honor of meeting Kristin herself last July at my Central Saint Martins degree exhibition in Soho. Having based my own degree project - TRIBE Magazine - on the concept of the traditional inspiring the modern, you could say we had a common interest. After spying Kristin snapping away at pages of my mag, we got to chatting about her project in progress and our shared enthusiasm for ethnic style. 

Released this month by Bloomsbury, Culture to Catwalk looks at both traditional dress and street style around the world and considers its influence on contemporary fashion today. Featuring interviews from some of the industries most esteemed and innovative designers such as Hussein Chalayan and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, it's going straight to the top of my must read recommendations for ethnic style lovers and, of course, Wandering Threads fans!

Click below to see a clip of the books launch at Liberty London.

Kristin is also author of award winning blog The Clothes Whisperer and fashion consultant to some of fashions greatest brands. To find out more about Kristin click here to visit her blog.

Culture to Catwalk is now on sale at all leading bookshops. Click here to purchase it online at Waterstones.com




Last night after a super long bus journey up from Chitwan National park in the south of Nepal (where I spotted a baby Rhino, whilst riding on the back of an elephant no less!), I finally reached this tiny nation's capital - Kathmandu. I've spent my day walking around the old centre of the city, popping in and out of temples and marveling at the medieval architecture of Durbar Square. It's such a fascinating city with tightly packed streets selling everything from handicrafts and textiles to rickshaw rides and the oddest piles of bric-a-brac. One of the most striking things about the city is its beautiful blend of Hindu-meets-Buddhist iconography. I thought I'd share some of these snaps with you, so you get the gist!



{Winter Shoe Lustings}

Shameful to admit, I know, but I have to confess that I have just discovered the wonder that is Polyvore. In my defense I have only been blogging properly now for a grand total of five months. Nevertheless, here we are, my very first Polyvore collection! As I'm currently trawling the streets (or rather the mountains) of Nepal in nothing but the same old flip flops and canvas pumps, I've now got to the point where I'm positively lusting after a pair of pretty new 'ethnicy' winter shoes. If, however I happen to find a pair of suede moccasins on my travel like the Minnetonka ones above, I will be snapping them up. I don't care if they're impractical for traveling, I miss my moccasins! 



[ HAPPY HEMP ] Pokhara, Nepal

Yet another of my Lakeside finds, today's post comes from a foray into a particularly hippy looking hemp clothing specialist. My wandering style hunter's eye was instantly drawn by the outer displays of raw, laddered knit dresses, loose, oversized crochet jumpers and rough-dyed tee's - the perfect type of clothing to boost that effortlessly cool (yet evidently considered) boho-traveler wardrobe. Sourced locally, as industrial cultivation of hemp is illegal in Nepal, the hemp fibre comes from a homegrown source of naturally occurring cannabis sativa plant. Durable and strong, the plant grows densely and quickly in poor soil and harsh conditions of the western mountainous regions of Nepal, resulting in a more quantitative yield without the need for chemicals. That should put some smiles on the faces of ethical fashion fans!

Naturally, everyone seems to associate hemp with old tree hugging hippies but if your on the pulse of the ever expanding sustainable fashion scene, you will by now be well informed of the multiple benefits of alternative fabrics such as hemp (even Bottega Veneta are cashing in on its .....!). Not only is hemp both ethically and environmentally sustainable, its also bacteria resistant and far more water absorbent than other fabrics meaning it not only keeps you cool, holds its shape and is wrinkle free, but also retains dye colours and actually gets softer the more you wear it!

If you're looking to jump on the hemp bandwagon, take a look at sustainable fashion brand Komodo. Not only do they focus on sustainable fabrics such as hemp, soya, organic cotton and rayon.....but they've got some super cosy winter warmers and some cute tailored work wear.



                    River Island Backpack with Tribal Print Flap £35                              River Island Canvas Tribal Backpack £30

I've never been a big fan of over exerting myself when it comes to exercise, nor am I a big fan of the practical 'active' gear that such enthusiasts seemingly consider mandatory. Bit weird then, you may think, when former fashion student decides, voluntarily, to go on a three day Himalayan trek. To be quiet honest, when I first started backpacking in 2007 the concept of needing to wear trainers, carry round a giant Karrimor backpack and wear strange 'fisherman' style pants in order to retain my modesty (or so the Thai's see it) was all a bit overwhelming. Now, thankfully, four years on and I've realised traveling doesn't need to mean looking like some 'just-stepped-out-of-Blacks-hippy'. 

Loathe to purchase a typically practical backpack for activities such as said three day trek, I've found a rather good looking alternative. These two felt-touch finished cotton tribal canvas bags from River Island are nice and light-weight, big enough to fit a that essential pair of leggings, warm socks, hoodie and long-sleeved jersey and a few toiletries. Perfect! Plus, they double up as rather stylish city day bags or as hand luggage for the rest of your trip! 



[ THE CRAFTS CENTRE ] Pokhara, Nepal

Shops like this are the reason I keep adding to my photographic collection of super bright, ethnic patterned fabrics, clothing and accessories - they make it so easy! I wondered into The Crafts Centre, again on Pokhara's Lakeside area, having been dazzled by the array of coloured weaves and embroidered homeware strategically placed out on the roadside. 

Whilst I'm a big fan of shopping in local markets and bazaars on my travels, I love discovering small, independently owned, fair trade stores like this one that stock hundreds of locally produced, traditional items. You may pay a slightly inflated price for those desirables but, generally, you can leave happy in the knowledge that the local artisans who hand crafted them are getting a fair price. Heed the obvious warnings though and assess the shop by its owner or salesperson - too pushy and you know they're out to make a quick buck, most likely paying under the odds for the goods themselves.  


The Craft Centre's chirpy owner was happy to take the time to show me around, explaining to me the significance of the symbols embroidered and woven into wall hangings, cushions and bags as well as the location of the villages that produced the unbelievably soft 100% yak wool scarves - perfect Christmas presents!



[ TIBETAN TRINKETS ] Pokhara, Nepal

So far Nepal is has been overindulging my obsession for ethnic jewellery. I got a little taste for what was to come back over the mountains in McLeod Ganj where the Tibetan community stocked their stores and stalls with a plethora of beautiful amulets and charm pendants imported from Tibet. The same seems to be true over here in Pokhara. And the best part about the Tibetan/Nepali jewellery styles? They are no stranger to statements pieces - huge stone-inlaid silver pendants, turquoise stones set in chunky, patterned rings and amber-beaded multi-strand necklaces.  

Take a look at these pieces from Amala's Tibetan Gift Corner in Lakeside. If only I wasn't on a backpackers budget I'd be snapping the whole shop up for my collection. For fans at home, check out my earlier post on Tibetan style jewellery from Free People. If you're quick you may still be able to nab a few pieces!



[ TIS' THE SEASON... WELL, ALMOST ] Pokhara Knits

              Knitted Pony Jaquard Cardigan by Topshop £45                                           ASOS Christmas Jumper ££35.00

Christmas is now in sight and that familiar chill is probably starting to weedle its way back into the air (or so I can ascertain from the UK weather forecast - over here its still 30 degrees!) and there's nothing that says winter warmers better than the Christmas jumper! Strolling around the stalls and stores of Lakeside earlier today I came across a couple of snug looking ethnic knit jumpers. I have to say, whilst resisting the urge to snap one up, the sight of them made me a little sad, knowing that this year I won't be back at home with the family for Christmas, but on a beach somewhere in South East Asia. Ahh well, it's a hard life....
For all you ethnic/Nordic knit jumper lovers at home, I've found a couple of favorites for you to snap up in time for the festive season! Purchase at will.
               Messia Knit Top by VILA £47.33                          Knit Jacquard Sweater by United Bamboo @ ASOS £245.00


[ COCONUT CHARMS ] Pokhara, Nepal

Earlier today, during another photographic excursion around Pokhara's backbacker haunt, I came across this delightful little collection of hand-carved, recycled coconut jewellery. Ranging from intricately carved earrings to hand-painted and stone-inlaid pendants in an array of symbolic and nature inspired designs, this cute collection makes a perfect go-to for souvenir hunters looking for a token Lakeside style keepsake. Oddly enough, the actual selling point of the shop was fishing rods and tattoos...

Straight outta nature, recycled coconut not only makes for perfect travel jewellery - being light-weight, durable and non precious - but is also a particularly sustainable option. Reusing otherwise redundant shells from empty coconuts, then shaping and scoring the surface with hand tools there's nothing inorganic about this stuff. So have a rummage around your local markets and boutiques, or just wait for your next beachside escape to get your hippy on and get some coconut!



[ PAPERMADE ] Pokhara, Nepal

When I entered this lovely country, which appears to consist almost solely of mountains (que long, arduous bus journeys, my window opening out on to sheer drops), I had absolutely no prior knowledge of the nationwide Nepalese fad for handmade paper. So when I came across this particular shop whilst strolling down Pokhara's Lakeside area this afternoon, I was, being a bit of a graphic designer-meets-ethnic-craft-obsessive myself, a little overly excited.
From postcards and paper lanterns to decorative scrolls, colourful wall calenders and greetings cards, ever item at Western Women Paper Craft is hand-painted by local craftsmen an women around the Pokhara Valley. According to the very informative lady in the shop, the popularity of this handmade paper, both within nepal itself and with foriegn exporters is largely due to its production being both environmentally and economically sustainable
The paper itself is made from the inner bark of a wild shrub locally known as 'Lokta' (found only at altutudes of 7000 to 9000 feet). Luckily the harvesting of Lokta leaves at least 8 inches of stalk above ground which enables it to grow again quickly from its embedded roots. This accelerated root growth in turn helps to hold the soil in place for other crops during Nepals two monsoon seasons, thus enabling farmers to sustain their livelihoods year-round (export crops are often the only source of income in rural areas). Great news for the Nepalese and great news for us!  
Besides serving as a durable writing material for ages past (historically all Nepalese legal and legislative documents have been printed on Lokta paper thanks to its durability), handmade paper also plays a big part in the lives of many natives. From creating charms to ward off evil spirits to making incense and gifts, to the use as a sticking-plaster substitute for healing cuts and fractures in remote villages, handmade paper, so it seems, is to Nepal like tea is to China


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