“The design process is very much driven by the creativity of the women who make the hats. Our design team here considers its role to infuse some of our fashion trends into the product,” she says. “For example, that’s how our fur pom-pom hats came to life. We fused the designs of the artisans in Nepal with what we knew to be a strong trend here and in Europe. Namely, fur accents.”
“We chose to use faux-fur because we wanted to be people AND animal friendly,” she adds.
“Historically, Nepal has been a niche for artists and creativity,” explains Marion. “Most of the historic towns are nothing less than an art studio, filled with intricate, sophisticated monuments, sculptures and buildings.”
Lately, you hear terms like “sustainability,” “Fair Trade,” and “Fair Wage” banded about all the time. But what does it really mean? What exactly is a “sustainable good?” Marion kindly explained what it is and how it fuses with YAK Apparel’s sensibilities: “Creating sustainable items simply grows out of how you do business and what philosophical base line you have as a business.”
Sanjay’s desire is to help the country he is from is one baseline for YAK Apparel. “And the best way he can do that is by building a successful business here which generates a consistent need for products ‘Made in Nepal,’” says Marion.
Sanjay travels to Nepal frequently and knows all the people they work with personally. “He also has a family history of apparel manufacturing in Nepal, so he understands what it takes to manufacture and to maintain a productive labor force,” Marion tell us. “He has seen all the places where our hats are made. Sanjay has met artisans’ families and shared meals with them. It is very much a personal thing.”
When it comes to materials, Sanjay and Marion’s focus is to stay with authenticity and natural materials. “We believe in quality,” says Marion. “We know for example, that natural wool keeps you a lot warmer than a synthetic blend. So we don’t use synthetic wool blends. We also know that wool can be itchy–so we make sure there is a lining in the hats to keep you comfortable. Once you have a baseline what you stand for, the choices and decisions are pretty straight forward.”
“We speak to the people who also have that philosophy,” She says. “Our goal is to provide products for people who understand and value authentic, natural and sustainable. You can be all that AND have a sense of fashion!”