"Looms of Ladakh has given an identity to the crafts of this region. It's about reviving and preserving these traditional arts."
"Looms of Ladakh is a cooperative of 152 women in eight villages. Our goal is to bring together unemployed women artisans from remote villages of Ladakh. The women learn to create knitted and woven fashion accessories and décor items. We encourage women's empowerment by allowing them to develop their skills in crafting organic designs to sustain themselves financially. At Looms of Ladakh, everything is made with determination and love.
"The officers are elected from among the women in the group. They meet twice a week to organize and look after operations, and they plan the production and coordinate sales. Representatives of each village meet regularly. Though traditionally made, some of the designs are taught by design graduates who advise us for a specific period of time. The young women are trained by master trainers in the group.
"Many of the women in the cooperative have their own herds of pashmina goats, yaks and sheep who, along with other rural rearing communities of Ladakh, supply our materials. The women thereafter process the materials through various stages of refinement, all hand processed to provide the best results. We aim for cleanliness as it is handwork, product size and weight standardization.
"We use mainly pashmina, cashmere, yak fleece and sheep wool for our designs. Pashmina is a very fine yarn. It needs dexterous hands for spinning for its genuineness to remain. It is not possible for machine-made pashmina yarn to be pure, as it is too delicate to withstand machine spinning and is therefore mixed with nylon or other fibers. Hence, the most genuine form of pashmina is spun by hand, a skill passed on from one generation to other.
"We use hand-knitting and handweaving techniques. Hand-knitting is a zero waste design technique. We love what we do.
"Looms of Ladakh has given an identity to the crafts of this region. It's about reviving and preserving these traditional arts. Today, many local retailers are experimenting with traditional crafts of Ladakh.
"We at Looms of Ladakh are trendsetters. Earlier, only traditional stitched clothes of Ladakh were being sold. Now, because of Looms of Ladakh, knitting and weaving are more popular.
"We have also broken the myth that artisans can succeed only as in-house wage artisans for someone else. Our artisan cooperative is 152-women strong, running our own organization and planning to bring more artisans into the group."