Luckily consumers are more and more intrigued by products that fulfil their expectations towards sincerity and transparency. To remain a relevant market player on the long-run, companies need to act responsibly and their business strategies need to genuinely embrace aspects such as environmental and social care.
That is why Nomadnoos creates value while proposing hand spun sustainably sourced yarns for the Do-It-Yourself knitter while following the Slow fashion principles.
Slow Fashion is an awareness and approach to fashion, which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing, particularly focusing on sustainability. It involves buying better-quality garments that will last for longer and values fair treatment of people, animals and the planet.
During one of their trips, Nomadnoos founder Coty Jeronimus has seen with her own eyes the effect of climate change on the pasture land due to the increased herds of cashmere goats.
Cashmere fibre is mostly sourced out of Mongolia and for a while has been under the radar. NGO’s such as Peta and newspapers as the Guardian are now informing about the problem.
In 2009, the World Bank warned of consequences on the land if the herds of cashmere goats continued to increase. Contrary to sheep, yaks and camels, goats do not only eat the grass but also the roots which by over-herding increases the desertification of the land. Add on top of that a cycle of summer drought and winter snow, very low temperatures and heavy snowfall, locally called Dzud. This together with overgrazing of goat herds over several years, resulting in desertification of 76.8% of the Mongolian territory.
There are a lot of brands, especially fast fashion brands, promoting cashmere. When we buy a pure or blended cashmere product, having this luxury very soft touch we do not think about the effect this can have on the environment. Cashmere products carry the feeling of luxury in its name. Cashmere is a precious commodity because it is combed from the underbelly of goats living in high altitude and it is extremely soft and fine.
First, the industry's rapid growth has degraded the average fiber quality. What happened is the herders, responding to the significant higher demand, increased their goat livestock with 66% over the last decade but also harvest older goats where the quality of the fiber is less and which lead to an overall decline of the quality of the fiber. As a result, the processing waste, which means the waste after the fiber is washed and carded, increased considerably.
Luckily the awareness is growing and programs are implemented. Not only are there different organizations who are helping like Sustainable Fiber Association (SFA) but also Green Gold, a project developed with the help of the Swiss Development for Corporations (SDC), where they not only advise and train herders to manage their livestock and pasture land in a better way but help them to integrate other luxury fibers as yak and camels. During several years studies were conducted and herders trained. Different management of the pasture land is implemented today, as training in combing in a more sustainable way the animals and separating the best part of the fibers while bringing it directly to the washing and carding facilities.
Source: blogpost by Coty Jeronimus
Currently Nomadnoos works with spinners in Nepal, because the know-how and the quality of spinning is higher in Nepal than in Mongolia. In Nepal it is embedded in their culture, people are spinning since ages making very thin and special fabrics. Where in Mongolia such a fine spinning was needed.
But their objective on the long term is also to develop with women in Mongolia.
The washed and carded fibers are shipped to Nepal where they are transformed in beautiful yarns by qualified spinners, who are spinning besides their household tasks. A spinner can spin 3 kg per month, which is approximatively 12 days of spinning. They get paid a fair salary which is the equivalent to the salary of one and a half month of working at a factory. In this way, Nomadnoos creates jobs and empowers women. On a regular base, other women are trained and once they finish the training they can integrate in the spinning team.
Dyeing is done by hand, and Nomadnoos uses a dyeing brand following the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) standards. And also here, in the dyeing workshop, though small, has water recycle plant. All dyeing water is recycled and reused for either sanitary usage or to water the vegetable garden.
The Sartuul yarn has a white base and therefore can be dyed in light colors without bleaching it first. Yak and Camel yarns come naturally in brown and natural grey base, and Nomadnoos over dyes it. White yak is very rare, and the herders do not really like them, because white yaks are sensible to diseases. If you see light colors in yak, it means often that the base fiber is de-colored and then overdyed. De-coloring or bleaching a fiber is a very chemical process! For camel it is the same, the base is very light beige and a brown.
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