There are 14 million yaks in the world. For every 5 cashmere goats there is one yak.
90% of the world's yak population lives on the Tibetan Plateau
Yaks generally live on the Tibetan plateau at altitudes over 3500m
Yaks are naturally sustainable animals. Studies have shown that yaks are low carbon emission animals due to their efficient digestive systems, emitting fewer greenhouse gases, including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. The nomadic lifestyle of yaks with frequent seasonable migration prevents overgrazing in one area. Their diet of grass and shrubby vegetation also contributes to positive environmental impact and align with grassland conservation initiatives as yaks graze and feed gently without pulling up roots.
Yaks have two types of hair: coarse hair that is used to make tents and fine down hair used to make clothing. The fine fibers are hand combed from the neck and shoulder areas of the yak. Each yak every year only can provide 100g of the fine downy fiber.
30% warmer than wool
1.2X more breathable than cashmere
Yak wool is a luxury fiber that is relatively unknown to the fashion world.
The most common natural color of the yak is a dark chocolate brown, but can also be found in white, tan, and gray. Unlike wool, the scales of yak fiber are in a waved mosaic pattern, resulting in a very smooth fiber that does not itch.
Yak has the advantage of unconventionality. “Cashmere is mainstream,” said Mr. Berga. “Now you have cashmere from Uniqlo and Zara.” Mass-market ubiquity has diluted some of its charm and even its quality. With yak, fewer suppliers make purity easier to guarantee. Which is why high-end brands like Incotex, Massimo Alba and Ermenegildo Zegna have turned to it as an alternative to cashmere. “There are very few brands producing yak, so now is the right moment to buy it,” said Mr. Alba. “You have the chance to do something before anyone else.”
– Wall Street Journal (11/26/2016)