Pashmina shawls have been very well known for their finesse and warmth, These shawls are light weight and soft because they are spun and woven with hand. However in last two decades, many shawl industries and factories have started using power looms for making Pashmina shawls and have been selling them on low price, even though Pashmina shawl is one of the most expensive shawls of the world. The reason for low prices is the compromise with pure Pashmina threads. What happens is that, a Pashmina is not able to bear the strain of a machine or power loom. Hence it is mixed with nylon threads to make it strong and at the same time compromised with purity. By doing this, on one hand the power loom owners have become more rich and on the other hand artisans who worked with hands have been dragged into lives full of hardships. One among such artisans is Younis Ahmed, who has been living a life of poverty and misfortune. "Machine brought this work some serious obstacles and a clear disaster. We as artisans are living a hard life, because all the spun yarn goes to the owners of power looms who get it woven within half an hour, pure or impure", says Younis, who is a hand weaver and has been working over a handloom since 15 years. "Power looms have ruined this craft of the glory it enjoyed back in the 1950s to late 1980s. Since then, it saw several drawbacks. Sometimes banning of Shahtoosh, then the advent of machines, and now paying low wages to the artisans which forces them to switch to other jobs, leaving Pashmina to be a dreadful past. Machine have reduced Pashmina to zero", he added. Owners of power looms couldn't have done worse to hand artisans. These profit makers have either used them as laborers at their factories or simply asked them to switch to other jobs if they cant work on machines. Apathy and indifference from the state government adds more to the miseries of the artisans and they have been left hopeless, jobless and in seriously destitute livelihoods.
Younis and Pashmina.com
A ray of hope in the artisans life is our ethical working model. Firstly Pashmina.com doesn't at all deal with machine made Pashmina shawls. And second, we consider hand artisans as a treasure which needs to be uncovered. We have no supply chains and hence what we pay to the artisan is sufficient and very well deserved by them. We believe Pashmina is alive today, and brimming with the same prestige it owned in the past, just because of these highly experienced artisans. Hence it becomes essential to take care of them and their families so that Pashmina craft is revived and shown to the world in ts purest, best and most authentic form.