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The Biggest Trouser-Pocket in the World

Pockets? Well, not exactly, as traditional gowns in Bhutan do not contain trousers/pants but only ‘Kira’ for women and ‘Gho’ for men. These are long, beautiful, and often colourful woven fabrics that are carefully wrapped around the body.

The every-day clothing is defined by simple patterns and fabric selection. The traditional gowns, on the other hand, are worn on special occasions and are often made of pure silk. These fabrics often have rich details and colourful patterns. A whole Kira covers the shoulders and reaches to the floor and can cost over 1000 Euros. But if you see how much effort it takes to lovingly create these detailed fabrics by hand, the price appears reasonable. For a single Kira with fine colourful patterns, skilled and experienced weavers need up to 1 year to complete it. A half-Kira, which starts above the hip, requires less time. Over the Kira most women wear a Tego, a short jacket that again is skilfully decorated.

For inexperienced users, it can be challenging to put on the traditional gown. At the beginning, you need help or more practice. The fabric of the Gho seems way too much and reaches all the way to the floor. A belt (without buckle) keeps the fabric up, and the arms which are too long as well are folded up. When all is done, the Gho looks more like a skirt around the hip. Admittedly, the Gho is something extraordinary. Putting on a Kira is similarly difficult, as the beginner does not know with which type and quantity of fabric to even begin. The final wrapped Kira is again secured with a belt but, as you can see in the pictures, is not folded up. In Bhutan, only the men show the knee, not women.

You might be thinking that I am missing the above-mentioned topic of the largest pocket, but I am not, because it is the skilfully wrapped fabric that creates large amounts of storage. Not only for a tissue paper and a key chain but those pockets span from belly to back, and Bhutanese know how to use them well. This was demonstrated by Bhutan’s current Premier Minister, Tshering Togbay, in his impressive TED talk in February 2016. To the amusement of the audience he pulled a mobile phone, a book, and finally even a laptop out of his ‘Gho-pocket’, without looking like he was carrying anything in his gown.

The handbag industry may become jealous, as the same is true for women and their Kira, though these pockets only get created when wrapping a whole-Kira. Women who prefer the half-Kira, which is the majority, do not have this pocket and thus fall back on the ‘modern’ handbag, which at times can be made from the same beautiful fabrics at the Kira itself.

* If somebody is interested in watching the impressive presentation by the Premier Minister of Bhutan, in which he talks about the carbon neutrality of his country, please use the following link:

Lecture by the Prime Minister of Bhutan