In Ladakh, which is located in the Himalayas of India we have created an independent supply chain of raw material and fabric through one community – the nomads of Changthang. Changthang is situated high in the Himalayas, on a plateau between India and Tibet.
It is populated by groups of nomads which move around the plains of up to 5,000 metres to bring their livestock to grazing spots. The Changpa, the people of Changthang, keep pashmina goats, sheep and yaks and their day and life is shaped by the animals.
While staying with the people of Changthang, in wide mountain lands inhabited by mostly sheep, goats, yak and only very few people we are getting an insight into a life without material attachment and constantly living in motion.
The nomadic lifestyle revolves around the animals and what they produce.
The wool we are gathering in Changthang from each person from the community is transported over the Taglang La, a pass of 5,300 meters is then washed, spun and woven by a group of settled nomads close to the city of Leh. In this settlement we work with a group of women who have continued their craft despite the relocation and drastic change of lifestyle.
To them, the weaving, both process and product, is a unique manifestation of their culture. Traditional techniques are used, the weaving takes place outside in the dry mountainscape of Ladakh, the ladies chat amongst themselves, drinking butter tea and doing whatever needs to be done for the next loom, all this carrying nomadic culture into their new world.
A Visual Diary:
Founder Catherine shares her first trip to the Changthang Plateau in summer 2014 and how she met the people who are now a part of KAL's team.
This is the story of our first journey to Changthang in June to meet the nomadic herders and learn about their lifestyle and habits. They keep yaks, goats and sheep and are people full of joy and life. Now, after the second visit, we are happy to say that these people are our partners in KAL - supplying the typical Changthang yak and sheep wool.