Kora makes its introduction to the United States, bringing with it the most advanced and performance-driven baselayer apparel ever made.
The brainchild of founder Michael Kleinwort, Kora was founded in 2013 with a dueling mission: to create the world’s best technical apparel using yak wool, while also supporting economic stability and environmental protection in the Himalayas by generating a reliable income for the yak herders who supply the wool.
“Having evolved over thousands of years to protect these animals in the extreme conditions of the Himalayas, yak wool is an incredibly advanced material,” said Kleinwort. “Between the high performing properties of the wool and the opportunity to support economic development in the nomadic, herding communities, the birth of Kora is a tremendous new offering in the outdoor community.
Extensive laboratory and field testing show that Kora garments, using the company’s proprietary Hima-Layer™ fabric, are not only remarkably breathable, soft, warm, light, with excellent wicking and natural anti-bacterial qualities, but also outperform merino wool, the most commonly used natural fabric in performance garments.
A study commissioned from Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sport & Exercise Science compared the yak wool base layer against merino and polyester base layers. They found that when running in cold weather, a Kora base layer maintains core temperature better than merino or polyester garments. An independent laboratory test of Hima-Layer™ alongside equivalent leading merino wool fabrics also offered astounding results: Hima-Layer™ is 40% warmer, has 66% greater air permeability and 17% greater water vapor permeability than merino wool fabrics.
The difference is down to environment. While merino sheep graze at around 1,000 meters, yaks live at 4,000 to 5,000 meters and have evolved to survive the extreme cold at that altitude.
Like merino wool, yak wool is incredibly fine – as small as 17 microns – making Hima-Layer™ smoothly comfortable while also being highly resistant to odor and granting unprecedented warmth and breathability.
Yak wool is collected in a manifestly humane manner; in fact, the wool isn’t even sheared from the yak, but instead is plucked from the yaks during molting season and collected during the molt. Kora sources wool from a network of local agents and also buys directly from the Kegawa Herders’ Cooperative, a group of 80 herder families, at a premium over the market price -- providing reliable income for these communities.
The humane, community-based harvesting methods are low-impact on both the yaks and the environment, and the collaborative work between Kora and the Kegawa Herders’ Cooperative, creates a sustainable economic model for one of the most challenged economies in the world.
The process from raw wool to final product is a long one, and difficult, but allows Kora to maintain direct relationships with suppliers and continually check product quality, continue research and development to fine-tune performance, and ensure all products are made under ethical, environmentally sound conditions.
The brand, which is based in London and in Hong Kong, where Kleinwort lives, kicked off in the UK in mid-2013 and has built a large following since then.
Currently, the U.S. line, which is available only online, includes:
Kora will be unveiling new additions to their fall 2015 collection in late August. For more information on Kora, please contact Gordon Wright at Gordon@OutsidePR.com or visit http://www.kora.net/home.
Kora exists to support positive change in the Himalayas, where habitats are fragile and livelihoods are precarious. By building strong, lasting relationships with the people who supply our wool, we can monitor our impact and maximize the benefits our business can bring. For the past three years we’ve worked with Kegawa Herders’ Cooperative, a group of 80 herder families. We guarantee to buy all their available wool at a premium over the market price, providing them with a reliable income. This wool will be used in our 2015/2016 range.