Norlha: Handcrafted on the Tibetan Plateauby Selvedge Team
Founded in 2007 by mother and daughter Kim and Dechen Yeshi, Norlha is a Premium Tibetan Lifestyle Brand based on the Tibetan Plateau.
From their atelier in Ritoma Village, a nomad settlement on the windswept grasslands of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern China, Norlha provides training and long-term employment opportunities for local nomads. Our highly skilled artisans produce exceptionally high-quality, handcrafted clothing and homewares using yak down or ‘khullu’ – a precious fibre renowned for its durability, softness and warmth.
Khullu is used across the entire Norlha range. They seek out the softest khullu, naturally shed by baby yaks (called yeko) at the beginning of their second summer. Norlha’s khullu is carefully selected and cleaned before artisans spin, weave and felt it. Norlha’s merging of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design results in a luxurious textile with extraordinary insulating properties which retains its shape, resists pilling and will last long enough to be passed on to the next generation.
Norlha Atelier employs 120 former nomads. Dedicated to empowering their local community through sustainable development, they are a certified Benefit Corporation and have been awarded by the United Nations Development Programme. As well as being the first on the Tibetan Plateaus to work with yak khullu and to bring this high-quality handcrafted fiber into the fashion market, they believe in gender equality and offer equal opportunities in training and employment. Today both men and women contribute to the company in administrative as well as artisanal roles. Norlha is unique in that everyone, from the CEO to the designers, managers and artisans work within the same courtyard, creating a sense of proximity and mutual responsibility.
Find out more about Norlha Atelier over on the Selvedge Instagram account as they take part in our regular ‘Takeover Tuesday’.
All photos by Nikki McClarron.