Model Julia Kristina Müller presents a creation by the Nepalese fashion house Kasa on a catwalk at an altitude of 5500 meters.
Model Luise Hasse was also there.
Models applaud designer Ramila Nemkul (center) after the presentation at an altitude of 5500 meters in the Himalayas near Mount Everest.
For this fashion show, models not only had to wear chic clothes – they also had to push their limits. Isolated from the outside world, they ran through the Himalayas for days.
Luise Hasse has never hiked for so long. Especially not at a height of thousands of meters, in a place where it is cold, there is snow, the sun shines brightly and the air is so thin that she could not think clearly from time to time, as the German press Agency tells.
But the German-Latvian model, who usually goes to Fashion Weeks in London or Paris, really wanted to get there: a catwalk at 5500 meters near the base camp of Mount Cho Oyu in the Himalayas. She wanted to be part of an event that had set a record in the Guinness Book of World Records last year and now claims to have broken this world record – with the highest fashion show in the world.
Never thought of giving up
For twelve days, Luise Hasse ran to the catwalk – with twelve other models and a few dozen other people, organizers, a designer, porters and a camera team. They slept in tents. At times, Hasse had a fever and a cold, as the model says. Others in the team got sick too. But she never thought of giving up. Nevertheless, fashion show organizer Pankaj K Gupta from India says that he sometimes felt like an army general when he kept motivating his protégés by reminding them of the common goal. He is proud that no one has used cylinder oxygen.
Why did the models have to hike? On the one hand, to get used to the altitude, explains Gupta. On the other hand, the fashion show had the motto sustainability and should set an example against climate change. With the designer clothes and jewelry, however, the team made a less eco-friendly exception – they were flown up the mountain in a helicopter, Gupta says. The clothes would have been crumpled when they were carried up, and there would have been no iron upstairs. The CO2 emissions calculated by a team of experts should be offset with a tree-planting campaign. A good two dozen trees have already been planted, with more to follow. Gupta also emphasizes that not a single caterpillar was killed for the clothes made from pashmina silk in Nepal. Normally, silkworms would be killed in the production of silk.
Plywood catwalk in the snow
On the day of the fashion show, the models got up at four o’clock and then hiked the last bit to the catwalk by around six o’clock, says Luise Hasse. She was cold, it was snowing. With a look at Mount Everest, however, she forgot the exertion. The models would have made up each other and done their hair. Then they walked on a plywood catwalk in the snow for 37 minutes during the show and presented colorful winter fashion to Indian music, as Gupta says. The models would have changed in a heated tent.
Model Julia Kristina Müller from Frankfurt was also on the mountain. She was shocked at how visible the effects of climate change were there. There was a lot of glacier meltwater next to small villages and she was afraid that these places could be flooded in the future. They were also depressed by the rubbish in nature. Mountaineers often leave litter behind on their strenuous expeditions in the Himalayas – Mount Everest, for example, is considered the highest garbage dump in the world. In the interests of sustainability, the models each had to take a sack and collect their own and other people’s rubbish. After the fashion show they wandered back again.
A video was also shot for the fashion show; the organizers would like to sell it to a streaming service. The Nepalese government, meanwhile, hopes that the fashion show will bring more tourists to the country in the future – because of the message that the Everest region is safe. The tourism-dependent country had suffered greatly from the effects of the corona pandemic.