bringing treasures from Tibet and the himalayas since 1988
Founded in 1988 by husband and wife team Anna and Phelgye Kelden, Dö Kham began as a small Soho boutique “Bringing treasures from Tibet and the Himalayas” to New York City.
Phelgye grew up in a nomadic family in Western Tibet before becoming a monk at the age of seven. In 1959, Phelgye and his family joined the thousands of Tibetans who made the escape into exile due to China's occupation of Tibet. At just nine years old, he travelled on foot over the Himalayas for two months before reaching Nepal.
After a brief period in Nepal, Phelgye moved to Dharamsala, India to rejoin Nechung monastery and resume his Buddhist and artistic studies. In 1979, Phelgye made his first trip to the United States to fundraise for the rebuilding of Nechung in Dharamsala and later established the Nechung Foundation, a center for Tibetan Buddhism and Culture. After deciding to remain in America, Phelgye founded Dö Kham in hopes of finding new ways to share Tibetan culture with the West, ultimately, through fashion.
As the interest in Tibet grew, so did Dö Kham’s profile as a fashion destination in New York City. In December, 1991, Phelgye was featured as a New York Times Style Maker, known for adapting styles of traditional Tibetan clothing to fit the modern world. As a signature item of Dö Kham, the wa-sha Tibetan fox fur hats are traditionally worn in Tibet to help keep warm in the harsh climate of the Himalayas, but as a part of his modern design and commitment to sustainability, Phelgye’s hats also include a faux fur version.
His successful designs lead to exclusive contracts with high end department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, as well as a dedicated celebrity following. His adapted pieces have garnered attention since the very beginning, with his designs being featured in Calvin Klein’s 1987 winter ad campaign, shot by Bruce Weber, appearing in all major fashion magazines. Since then Phelgye’s work has been featured in fashion magazines and editorials, as well as in film and television.
In recent years Dö Kham has expanded their line to include high end fashion pieces from Central and Southeast Asia.
In January 2018, Dö Kham made an exciting move from Soho to the East Village, bringing their vibrancy and rich culture to a new neighborhood. Phelgye and Anna’s daughters, Kunsang and Dechen have also joined the Dö Kham team, keeping it a family run business.