Looms of Ladakh is a women’s cooperative in the remote, mountainous and beautiful region of Ladakh in India. Ladakh is peaceful place, with a cultural landscape resembling the calm serenity of Tibet, but unfortunately many of its people are unemployed and poor.
Looms of Ladakh aims to bring together unemployed women artisans from the Changtang, located in Ladakh, to train them to produce knit and woven wool products that can be traded in the internationl marketplace.
The organization’s goal is to empower these women and their communities by giving them access to a sustainable livelihood.
The organization sources wool from local nomads who rear herds of Changthangi goats, camel, yak and sheep. The Changthangi goat is particularly important in the process, as the animal is native to Ladakh and is the source of the world’s finest Pashmina, also known as cashmere. The raw material from these nomadic herders are high quality, genuine wool and cashmere, unlike the spurious materials that flood the current international marketplace. Looms to Ladakh provides the nomads fair exchange for their labor, as a part of its commitment to maintaining an ecosystem of fair trade that empowers the community, sustainably.
Once the raw materials have been received from the nomads, the Ladakhi women are then given the materials to complete a detailed production process that reaps the finest end product – a process carefully taught to the women by designers brought in by the organization.
The Ladakhi women comb the fibers of the raw materials and cleans it of its impurities. The cleaned fiber is then spun and coverted into yarn. Then it is woven and knitted into high quality woolen products. Looms to Ladakh then takes these goods to the global market for sale, and provides retail spaces in tourist hubs within the Ladakh towns for the goods to be sold.
To date, 150 women have benefited from the Looms of Ladakh project.
Looms of Ladakh prides itself on being a farm to fashion initiative, committed to supporting and growing these communities and artisans that develop these products. Its processes uses natural dyes, and are always environmentally responsible and non-harming to the animals it works with.
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