The benefits of yak wool
Yak wool: Cozy up to this sustainable cashmere alternative
Words— Philip Mak
As temperatures drop, nothing lifts the spirit quite like the cozy comfort of a wool sweater. Searching for one that looks great on you, while also being good for the planet? Explore no more, we’ve gone all the way to the steppes of the Himalayas to find you a unique cashmere alternative that is as soft as it is sustainable: yak wool.
Never heard of yak wool? That’s probably because this fantastic fibre has been a best-kept-secret of the nomadic tribes of the Himalayan region for centuries. Known as khullu in Tibet, it is valued for its warmth, breathability and durability. Today, yak wool is becoming the warmest trend among brands that value sustainability as much as style. That’s because it’s as luxuriously soft as cashmere without the cash price or cost to the planet.
The bovine benefits
Yak is a long-haired bovine (read: cow) native to the Himalayas, Mongolia and Central Asia. Their wool is naturally soft and has evolved to protect them from the frigid temperatures of the region. As a clothing textile, it feels sumptuous, looks sublime and is 30 percent warmer than sheep’s wool. In addition to being 1.6 times more breathable than cashmere, this all-natural material also has plenty of other benefits woven into its fibres including being odour-resistant and anti-microbial. Additionally, the way it is sourced has a much lower impact on the planet.
Why yak wool is the G.O.A.T. (without the goat)
What many people don’t know is cashmere actually comes from goats—lots of them, often across a small area. Their hard, heavy-footed hooves trample the soil beneath them which, coupled with over-grazing, has led to the desertification of grasslands in high cashmere production regions. Not a good look. In fact, 90 percent of Mongolia is currently at risk of degrading into desert partially because of goat herding. Yaks, by comparison, have a footstep as soft as their wool, which greatly reduces the risk of impacting the earth beneath them.
Yak to the future
We source our yak wool from the Tibetan Plateau—the highest in the world. Plus, ours has benefits that are as layered as your cold-weather #OOTD. Part of the proceeds from our yak wool will go towards developing the communities that provide us with the material through training sessions and healthcare services. To date, over 800 herders in Qinghai have benefited from the program.
Your new favourite sweater will be made with a melange of 50 percent yak wool and 50 percent extra-fine merino wool. Keep scrolling to see all the sustainable clothing options you need to snuggle up with this autumn-winter season.