Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Prior to the 1950s-60s, an interdependent network existed between the semi-nomadic shepherd communities and the farmers of the agrarian villages.
When the shepherds travelled with their herds of sheep from the high mountain passes to the valleys, the sheep would graze in the farm fields, providing much needed fertilizer, and the villagers would use the wool to weave and knit garments and blankets for the winter months.
Over time, various influences caused this network to weaken and break down.
With the arrival of cheap and accessible synthetic yarns in the local markets, artisans began to incorporate these petroleum based yarns into their weaving and knitting. Imported merino wool began to be used in commercial production.
The resulting decrease in demand for local indigeous wool undermined the ability of the pastoralist shepherd communities to continue their traditional way of life, and contributed to a loss of knowledge and skills amongst local artisans in being able to work with local wool.
RANI & REINE
Our designs are currently created within the confines of a complex and inconsistent wool supply chain in terms of access to breed and herd specific wool, specific colours, and raw fleece.
Kullvi WHIMS, our artisan partners, purchase the wool from various families in the surrounding villages, based on word of mouth and family connections.
With time, our goal is to form direct partnerships with shepherds to source our wool. Our goal is flock to frock sourcing, where we can trace our wool directly back to the sheep, herd and shepherd.