Well-known for its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking landscapes, Nepal is one of the most captivating places on the planet. Located in the Himalayas, it is remarkable how they manage to retain their own distinctive culture, separate from their superpower neighbours, India and China.
Nepal has a long tradition of impeccably handcrafted products involving knowledge and skills that have been handed down for generations. By applying them to modern products aimed at a global market, we contribute to Nepal’s export, aiming for a positive impact on the country’s economic future.
In Nepal, we produce handspun and handwoven yak and cashmere products in local workshops in Kathmandu, as well as machine-knitted cashmere/linen products produced at a certified and modern factory in the Biratnagar region.
Cashmere can be difficult to work with in a sustainable way. At Aiayu we have found a very small community in Nepal from which we are able to buy responsibly and support the community. The centuries-old tradition of spinning and weaving cashmere products is an incredible testament to the enduring strength of the Nepalese community. We aim to support these craftspeople through fair trade and ongoing, socially responsible production practices.
Where other international companies often turn to more developed and production-skilled countries, we have chosen to manufacture our woven and knitted cashmere and yak products in Nepal. Rather than create a charity, we have developed local business relations based on a mutual understanding, trust and responsibility.
Aiayu cashmere comes from the goats of Inner Mongolia. It is the softest wool of its kind and very delicate, as the fibers are shorter than other wools like llama and merino.
All Aiayu cashmere is refined in Nepal, given their extensive expertise with cashmere. Our handspun cashmere products are all refined by hand – from sorting to spinning, weaving and dying. One goat yields only 200 – 300 grams of pure cashmere a year. Just enough for one medium weight sweater.
Our machine-knitted cashmere products are blended with linen to enhance the durability, while keeping the softness and the natural beauty of the cashmere.
The yak ox is an amazing creature roaming the remote hills of the Himalayas in Nepal. Unbeknownst to the conventional textile industry, the fibres from the Yak fur, when treated properly, are made into wool that feels as soft as cashmere, and yet as strong and warm as llama wool.
Our wool is made from the Yak Khulu: the finest, softest fibre from the Yak. Normally a light brown colour, we only use it in its natural form. All refinement of the wool, from sorting to spinning and weaving, is all done by hand in Nepal. For comparison, it takes a a skilled spinner one month to spin two kilos of Yak wool, enough for five shawls.