Story of the yak

Yaks are unique animals that can only live on altitude higher than 2,500 meters (8,500 feet). 90% of the world’s yak population live in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Without functional sweat glands, these animals died from heat exhaustion on lower altitude. Higher the altitude they live in, higher is their yak down quality.

Yaks have been the main resource of food, clothing, tent and transportation for Tibetan herdsmen on the plateau for thousands of years. The yak coat consists of a thick layer of coarse fur, the outermost layer of which is suitable for utilitarian purposes such as tent and rope making. Under these layer lies the soft, high quality down wool: the base material for CYAK Handicraft textiles. Many people use “yak down” and “yak wool” interchangeably, this material is obtained after de-hairing and washing process, and it is the finest part of the yak fiber (smallest diameter and longest length). 

In CYAK’s case we call the initial material that comes off a yak as yak wool and the de-haired and washed material as yak down. Yak down is uniquely suited as a base fiber for high-end textiles. Yak down is warmer than cashmere or Merino wool due to its higher myristic acid content and ability to keep heat in, yet remains more breathable than cotton. With a fiber diameter close to that of cashmere, it has a similar hand feel to cashmere and the same luxurious softness. However, yak down displays some superiorities over cashmere, such as decreased pilling with wear. Yak down is a more sustainable fiber, making use of a plentiful existing herds instead of trying to increase cashmere production in an area where grassland is becoming scarce. The odor- resistant properties of yak down mean less frequent washing is needed. For these reasons, yak is an ideal fiber choice for fine goods such as sweaters, scarves, blankets, hats and other accessories.

Organic fiber, sustainable development

CYAK only uses natural yak fiber. Unlike cashmere goats, yaks eat grass but do not pull up the roots. Raising yaks are more environmental than raising cashmere goats. During spring, herdsmen comb the wool off the yaks, and the yaks regrow their hair in preparation for the cold weather months. Utilizing yak down is friendly to the environment and promotes sustainable development.

Cashmere without its premium price

Natural yak down products give a feel of high quality cashmere but without the premium price. Consumers typical first impression is that yak down products feel like cashmere. Why pay the premium price to buy cashmere, when CYAK’s yak down provides a warmer product, promotes the usage of sustainable textile, and enables herdsmen and women to use their skills to earn a better living.