Byline: Daniela Gilbert

NEW YORK — Too few companies regularly give back to the communities that help to propel their profits.
With their new line of knitwear that features Tibetan yak and cashmere, Fibre Tibet is striving to keep Tibetan culture alive by returning all profits from the sale of their line to the Tibetan nomads that gather the fibers.
In conjunction with The Bridge Fund, a nonprofit charitable project of The Philanthropic Collaborative, Fibre Tibet has established training programs with more than 400 nomads to wash and card the yak wool used in 60 percent of the collection.
Initiated by Tsegan, the manager of a local Tibetan wool cooperative, the programs are supported by a $75,000 revolving loan fund in grants started by The Bridge Fund. The programs are being expanded to 4,000 nomads and the interest is used by a local charity to publish Tibetan language books for nomad children.
“The goal of Fibre Tibet and The Bridge Fund is to promote Tibetan Heritage preservation, conserve the environment and create economically sustainable businesses run by Tibetans,” said Monica Garry, executive director of The Bridge Fund.
The collection, created by Italian designer Alberto Zanone — who donated his time and resources — includes men’s and women’s sweaters, shawls and scarves, in addition to blankets and throws, many of which feature embroidered traditional Tibetan symbols.
“I’m especially excited about the yak in the collection because in the past, yak has been combined with polyester and the result has been a poor product with a very rough hand,” said Zanone. “For this collection, we combined the yak with fine Italian wool and the result is a very soft hand with all the properties of wool. The goal here is to add value to the yak and cashmere fibers that come out of Tibet.”
The collection is sold at Barneys New York, the Jill Platner Gallery in New York, Louis in Boston, Maxfield’s in Los Angeles, Weathervane in Santa Monica, Calif., more than 20 fine stores in Italy, Beams and Kaneman in Japan, and locations throughout England, Holland and Switzerland.
Wholesale prices range from $150 for a shawl to $1,000 for a cashmere blanket.

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