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Mohammed Rafiq

Kashmir

Maker's Story

The legendary art of handcrafted Pashmina could soon be a thing of the past, all thanks to machine made cheaper and fake Pashmina products. The real handcrafted Pashmina, for which Kashmir was revered all over Europe and Asia has to bear the brunt of profit making dishonest selling techniques which some sellers have gotten into. With the advent of machines, which can weave more than double the amount of shawls woven by hand, artisans feel irrelevant and worthless, and prefer their children do white collar jobs, instead if opting for this generations old inherited craft. The proliferation of machine-made Pashmina products has proved to be a big threat for artisans, whose livelihoods depend entirely on Pashmina making. Be it spinners, weavers, embroiderers, dyers or even sellers of embroidery threads, machine made Pashmina shawl making has walked heavy on their livelihoods. Spinners do not get their fair compensations, weavers do not get fine yarn from spinners because yarn is being provided to those who own power looms, embroidery artisans are given double the amount of work, but not even half the compensation they deserve, hence artisans lives are in a mess in the current scenario. One of these artisans, is Mohammed Rafiq Beigh. Beigh is a master of his time, with a record of training more than 100 young men and women. Anyone who wanted to learn the art of embroidery or weaving decades back, would run to the Beighs who were masters of Pashmina making back then. Times changed, and so did the scenario of Pashmina. Artisans who had been spinning and weaving Pashmina from ages had to say goodbye to this craft and move to labor because it fetched at least a satisfactory pay. Beigh, with a small group of loyal; artisans did not however switch to jobs. They were the real patrons of the craft, and never wanted it to fade away. And eventhough they earned less, they still remained attached with their looms, shawls and this dim lit room where they started. Beigh and Pashmina.com Like the young artisans who when wished to work for Pashmina were shown the doors of Beighs, we were welcomed there too. Our working model was highly appreciated. Fair trade, ethical practices, and sustainability were just some topics that totally delighted the artisans, they were ready the next morning to work on our handwoven Pashmina shawls. Mohammed Rafiq Beigh is one amongst the senior embroidery artisans and what he does with his hands is nothing less than magic. We could not even imagine the pieces that he actually makes in relaity. The perfect blend of colours, the perfect use of threads and the perfect quanity of embroidery over wraps, scarves and stoles that Rafiq does is beyond the imagination of an onlooker

Our Artisans

Empowering the community of artisans associated with us is fundamental to our core values. Their livelihood to a certain extent depends on us. Our artisans work painstakingly to acquire, weave, embroider our luxury pieces; hence we too work hard to promote this shared sense of partnership.
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