Citizen Cashmere has developed a unique garment called the Lhasa Hoodie that uses untreated yak’s wool sourced directly from nomadic herders in Tibet. The company has spent six months working in the Himalayas to source the wool from nomadic communities. The wool only uses hand combing and clean water to treat it and does not use any chemicals or dyes.
Yak’s wool has been used by Tibetans for winter clothing since the dawn of animal domestication in the region and has been sourced sustainably for thousands of years by hand combing the animal each spring.
Citizen Cashmere was founded in 2012 by fashion designer Roger Guanine who has been manufacturing cashmere knitwear for European fashion houses for nearly 30 years. His original plan was to launch the Lhasa Hoodie on Kickstarter to make and ship a small quantity of yak’s wool hoodies because the wool is hard to source.
“I wanted to make a great hoodie that was eco-friendly and sustainable. And I wanted to connect Tibetan nomads with western consumers in America. Everyone involved in the project felt this was really important to see all the way through,” Guanine said.
Guanine plans to expand the number of herders he works with in 2015 and to expand the yak’s wool line to include pieces that are knit in Tibet.
The premium untreated yak’s wool hoodie comes with a hefty price tag. The women’s hoodie costs $125 with Free US Shipping, which is about the same price you’ll pay for a designer cotton one from a company like J.Crew.
“The only difference is we don’t make as much money off of it. We make it using sustainable material from nomads and it costs us 6 times as much as it costs them to make it,” Guanine said. “But we think it’s important. Because what that price difference allowed for is to pay a lot of Tibetans a living wage for their produce.”
And it’s that idea that inspired Guanine’s Lhasa Hoodie Kickstarter project. “It doesn’t cost as much as premium base layers you see out there for $200, but yak’s wool is as warm, natural, sustainable and more durable.”
The Kickstarter campaign can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/118402218/lhasa-hoodie-premium-hoodie-thats-actually-eco-fri