If you look beyond the sublime beauty of the mountains, the Himalayas have much to offer in terms of craft, technique and tradition. We traverse the length and breadth of this ginormous range in search of labels that exemplify this belief. In return, we come back with fashion, beauty and home decor homegrown Himalayan labels that are celebrating this design history and in turn, supporting and promoting local artisans.
For the Tibetian community in India, McLeodGanj, the holy seat of Dalai Lama, is both home and a place of refuge. Born within this close-knit community is Sharlho, a slow fashion brand started by Tenor Sharlho. Focused on principles of sustainability, the brand believes in preserving ancient craft techniques, providing jobs to the local community and creating products with zero waste.This Himalayan label creates Tibetian-inspired clothing items, leather bags, block-printed slippers, hand quilted toys and more, all inspired by local symbols and craft styles.
House of Hindee
The quintessential British winter fabric, the tweed gets an Indian makeover at Anhad Bhullar Malhotra’s ethical Himalayan label, House of Hindee. Right from shearing the mountain goat to hand spinning the wool on the charkha to softening the fabric using organic reetha (soapnut), the idea behind creating the Hindee Tweed is to promote the local looms of Himachal Pradesh. Having set up a weaving loom entirely run by local women in the Nagri village, the brand converts this indegenous fabric into home and fashion goods.
Borrowed from the Tibetian word for costume, Namza Couture is a modern Himalayan label with a strong Ladakhi heritage. Founded by Padma Yangchan and her business partner, Jigmet Disket, the label aspires to preserve the archaic textiles and traditional design elements in modern form. From using homegrown Ladakhi textiles like Nambu (sheep wool), Khulu (yak wool), camel wool and pashmina to using indigenous methods like Thikma (traditional method of tie and dye), the brand pays its tribute to the artisans of the region.
The motifs and symbols of the great mountain range come alive at the hands of Mapcha, a design studio founded by Lhanzey Palden and Tenzin Thardoe. Aimed at distilling Tibetan and Himalayan design, colours and aesthetic into everyday objects, this Himalayan label captures our attention with their earthy coloured dresses and kitchen tools with Tibetian symbols.
This clean beauty brand needs little introduction, based on principles of Ayurveda, PureEarth was started by Kavita Khosa in a bid to create a holistic beauty label that uses rare medicinal botanicals from the Himalayas. Ingredients like seabuckthorn berry and rosehip seed indeginous to the hills are extracted to create the products, harvested by local women and finally sold in refillable bottles to ensure recyclability.
Junaili is a family-owned apothecary based out of a farm at Rautakhet in Uttarakhand that creates beauty products from locally grown, wild ingredients. From wild apricots to botanics like rose and lavender, the products are created in small batches and are hand-pressed (so no heat) and chemical-free. Junaili means moonlight in the local language, and uses amber bottles in order to keep sunlight out and damage the hand-pressed oils.
Inspired by the ingredients of the Himalayas, Jessica Jayne’s beauty and wellness brand, Pahadi Local aims to find luxury in simplicity. Formulated from natural products with minimal carbon footprint, the brand uses locally grown ingredients to create products like Gutti (apricot) and Akhrot (walnut) oils as well as teas and pashminas.
The founder of Whitehill Studios might be based in Bareilly, but it’s the time spent in the hills (especially Shimla) that serves as the design inspiration for her tableware brand. Collaborating with local potters, the brand has collections like ‘Midnight in Mashobra’, ‘Postcard from Shimla’ and ‘Paaro’ (inspired by Jim Corbett) that captures the beauty of the trees, birds and food of the hills.
The Himalayan Atelier is a design studio created by a local mother-daughter duo known for their furniture store, Ramalaya in Kathmandu, Nepal. A Made-in-Nepal lifestyle website for the discerning shopper, the website offers pashmina shawls, stationery items and home accents with a unique craft history.