Made with love in Nepal
When I visited Nepal last October, I had the great privilege of again visiting the inspiring female-led enterprise in Kathmandu where our lovely baby yak wool ponchos, knitwear and throws manufactured.
Baby yak wool is ethically sourced from the first molt of the yak calf, or yeko as they are known. Yekos are born with a soft layer of down - after their first winter, the warmer spring air loosens their down, which molts and falls. This wool is the yak’s finest fibre. The yarn is spun first in its natural colour (grey brown) and then overdyed (without bleaching) in Kathmandu to produce deep, marled jewel tones.
Meghna and Sapna, "our baby yak girls" established their business in 2002. As Meghna describes, it has taken “enormous drive” to achieve their success, fuelled by the desire to have Nepalese handcraft and quality recognised around the world. When the effects of the devastating earthquake are still very much evident in Kathmandu, it is completely humbling to imagine the challenges of a pandemic.
Starting with just 10 weavers and 4 handlooms, they now employ more than 60 men and women in a multi-storey building, with dedicated work spaces for weaving, knitting, dyeing, printing, embroidery and tailoring. Their raw materials are sourced from Upper Mongolia (baby yak and cashmere) and India (silk), but much of the yarn is spun in the Kathmandu facility on traditional hand-operated spinning wheels.
Meghna and Sapna are particularly dedicated to empowering Nepalese women and provide training in weaving, spinning, hand-knitting and associated crafts. They have a group of women working from their homes, making pompoms, tassels and other fine finishing details.
As co-founders and creative directors, our “baby yak girls” are absolute dynamos – both hands-on in the day to day running of their enterprise, they (normally!) show their collections in Paris and continue to travel to explore new textile techniques. Their dedication and enthusiasm is inspiring.
By investing in one of our baby yak pieces, rest assured you are making a contribution to the livelihood and well-being of skilled craftsmen and women in Nepal, as well as treating yourself to a beautifully made, slow fashion knit made by hand from high quality, luxury fibre.