Lehvallée handmade textile is a young entreprise based in Ladakh, in the high altitudes of Indian Himalayas. It’s objective is to create and develop sustainable business activities based on village craft knowledge, traditional materials and natural resources produced in the region. Lehvallée’s distinctiveness lies the quality and autheticity of its products, use of rare natural materials, and in its deep rooted social, ethical and traditional values.
The brand creates and develops a collection of timeless pieces – pashminas, scarves, shawls and throws entirely handmade using the finest cashmere coming from the changra goats of Ladakh, and also handwoven fabrics made from high quality natural fibres produced locally. Their designs are a combination of tradition and modernity, and a true reflection of the beauty, simplicity and culture of Ladakh.
Lehvallée is founded by Sonam and Kunzes, two ladakhi sisters, one based in France and the other in Ladakh, each one bringing a new perspective and dynamism to the company, inspired by the best traditions of the two cultures.
Born and grew up in Ladakh, Sonam left her hometown early in life to persue study in New Delhi. After graduating in english literature and with a diploma in media studies, she worked in television industry for some years, before starting her own independent business. She then married a French and moved to France in 2006.
Keeping on with her entrepreneurial spirit, she soon started developing new projects in France, driven by her desire to stay connected to her cultural roots and to share the best of her native land to her new adopted country. Her activities evolved over the years and her reflections led her to develop an offer more and more oriented towards cashmere and natural fibres, an important natural resource of Ladakh. The brand Lehvallée, co-founded with her sister, Kunzes, in 2016, is the outcome of this progression.
Sonam brings her experience, her vision and her strong values in developing Lehvallée. She is happy that this project also fulfills her dream of weaving a link between the Himalayan tradition and wisdom, and the French innovation and savoir-faire.
After following her studies in in-organic chemistry at Delhi University, Kunzes enthusiastically launched out into this adventure, with her sister, in developing Lehvallée project. As an aspiring social entrepreneur, she found in this concept, an opportunity to serve and to make a social and environmental impact.
Since founding the company, she has been actively involved in providing training to the weavers and improving craft skills. Being a curious, determined and a creative person, she soon discovered her own growing passion for weaving and textile craft, and she successfully managed to handle all challenges with this passion. She also shares a deep interest for natural dyes. She loves playing with colours and uses plants, fruits and everything she finds in nature, in her experimentation. Her invention of natural dyes and creative skills are often reflected in our collection.
Together, the two sisters, make a very close-knit team, and move forward with an innovative attitude towards the future of Lehvallee.
Since its profound inception, Lehvallée is built around the fundamental values engrained in our culture and in all aspects of life : simplicity, quality, integrity and respect. We apply this philosophy to our work environment & all our business initiatives – from raw material production & transformation to marketing & sales.
The raw materials we use are directly sourced from the herders and producers, with whom we work in close collaboration. Our production process and transformation is carried with utmost care, maintaining maximum possible the purity and natural properties of the material. They are meant to provide comfort as well as lasting value to our customers.
At Lehvallee, our artisans and all our employees work in a safe & healthy environment. We treat them as part of our family and ensure complete security while they are with us. There is no question of using children or exploiting the weak. We believe in maintaing a relationship of trust and respect with all our employees, collaborators, work partners and our customers.
Our social and environmental engagement is conveyed through our choice of natural and sustainable production, and through our commitment to our producers and suppliers, in training and educating them to eco-responsible practices. The production facilities used in our workshop is mostly artisanal, such as traditional handloom, wooden charkas or spinning wheels, made from locally available resources, that doesnt require huge polluting machines to run them. We use only non – polluting natural dyes obtained from plants and herbs.
We believe in sustainable living and empowerment of women. We work towards creating jobs that will give them confidence and a sustainable income source. Most of our employees are single women with responsibilities of providing income for their families. Over 100 women in remote villages benefit from work opportunities generated by Lehvallée. We give them task such as cleaning and sorting of raw materials, and handspinning, that they can do from their home with flexible working hours. They are happy with this arrangement and bring that extra income to their families.