Why Yak?

Soft, sturdy, luxurious; the world's premiere unknown fiber

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Why yak khullu?

And why was our belief in the properties of this soft, sturdy, and luxurious fiber so strong that we were willing to build Norlha’s entire foundation around it?

Yak khullu, the soft layer of down that insulates this mighty, high altitude bovine, ranks among the world’s precious natural fibers, alongside camel, alpaca and cashmere.

Yak khullu is highly insulating: for thousands of years, nature has helped the yak genetically adapt to the bitter winters of the Tibetan Plateau by annually growing a protective layer of soft down below the long, rough hair that is its distinguishing trait. Each spring, when ice melts and the sun warms, the khullu detaches itself from the animal, a process aided by its rubbing against bushes or rolling on the ground. The fiber is inherently warm, soft and buoyant, and it passes on its qualities to an end product that is not only light and comforting but also rugged and long lasting.

When we spun and wove our first shawl, we realized we'd found the material with all the attributes we hoped for that would become Norlha’s primary fiber. The next step was to find the best possible method to process it, in order to bring out its natural virtues to the fullest. We spent twelve years learning all about this versatile fiber and improving our methods in spinning, weaving and dyeing.

Although yak khullu is less well known than cashmere or vicuna, we are proud to have discovered its virtues and privileged to introduce this secret treasure from the Tibetan Plateau to a discerning audience.

What is yak khullu?

Yak khullu is the extremely soft and insulating layer of down that the animal grows each year to protect itself against the severe winters of its natural habitat, the Tibetan Plateau.

Is yak khullu better than other premium fibers?

We believe every premium fiber has it own unique qualities, making it difficult to compare them. Cashmere, alpaca, vicuna and even silk are all loved for different reasons, as is yak khullu. Of course, opinions are involved in such decisions which makes it difficult to claim that yak khullu is undeniably "better" than any other fiber. We simply know that yak khullu is extremely soft, durable, and insulating - all natural characteristics that are enhanced throughout the production process.

How much yak khullu does it take to make a scarf?

In order to create the highest quality products we use only premium materials. This means exclusively selecting the best fiber, that of the first molt of the yak entering its second year. The rest of the khullu can be used for other purposes, but only the very best can be spun into the fine thread used for weaving or felting at Norlha. Due to this refined selection process, it takes the khullu of SEVEN yaks to create one Norlha scarf!

Is yak khullu collection a humane process?

Yes! In fact, not only is it humane but it’s also vegan. A yak’s khullu molts in late spring and naturally falls. Nomads have a short window of time, when the khullu begins to detach itself and before it falls, to collect it in a precise and efficient way that is painless to the animal.

Yak khullu is a gift from nature. It is naturally produced to help keep the animal warm, and then released back to nature when no longer needed, allowing it to be used for other purposes, such as creating beautiful textiles at Norlha.

What does yak khullu feel like?

We could say that it is as soft as a summer breeze, as comforting as one’s favorite childhood blanket and as warm as anything several times its thickness and weight. But we wouldn't want you to just take our word for it, so we've added a few comments from some of our customers and clients below:

“I discovered yak khullu three years ago and it has been a revelation for me as I would not have thought that it was such a rich fiber, so natural, so warm, and comfortable to wear in many occasions. I have now a collection of large and small shawls that are with me during the winter season in Switzerland and the summer season in south of France. I also love all the natural colors that match my taste for pureness.”

-Anne from Switzerland

“One of the oldest and most precious fibers. It has high luster and sheer resilience. It is enveloping, calming, durable, and a diamond fiber. I love the insulating properties and the moisture wicking properties. It’s also great that it does not pill.”

-Isabelle from Switzerland

How long does yak khullu last?

This is a question that depends on many factors, though if yak khullu is given the same degree of care as other premium fibers it would most likely outlast them all due to its natural durability. Combined with the high skill level our artisans use to create each piece, we expect all of our products to last a lifetime.

What care regimen should I follow?

Yak khullu is surprisingly easy to maintain. It can be handwashed in cold water with delicate fabric detergent or shampoo. To dry, it should be hung in a shaded area or laid flat, without wringing. Yak khullu can also be dry cleaned.