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Is Pashmina a scarf?

October 22nd, 2021 | 0 views
Is Pashmina a scarf?

Pashmina. Is Pashmina a wool type? Does anything like Pashmina wool exist? Is Pashmina a shawl? Or is Pashmina a scarf? Is Pashmina the name of an animal? What is Pashmina after all, and why is it so special?

These are some questions that are still wandering in the minds of a large number of people, all over the world. Some ask if Pashmina is a wool type, then what is the hype about. Some say, why is Pashmina world famous. Today, we answer all these questions and make it clear in the minds of people as to what Pashmina actually is, and whether it is a super hyped product or it actually deserves this reverence. 

What Pashmina actually is?

A pashmina is an art form. It was started in the 15th century in Kashmir when a saint travelled to the valley and discovered a new goat hair. This goat hair was found growing over the underbelly of a goat in Ladakh, which grew it in winter to keep itself warm. This goat hair was exceptionally smooth and fine. Hence the saint, who had travelled all the way from Persia, asked herders to collect this goat hair. Later he got it processed and handcrafting it into socks, he gifted the same to the then king of Kashmir - Zain ul Abideen.

pashmina goat
Pashmina Goats

The king was immensely impressed by the softness and warmth of the socks, and upon inquiring came to know about its source. Hence from this period onwards, this luxuriously soft goat hair was collected and fine shawls, apparel and smaller accessories were made out of it. This came to be known as Pashmina. 

When these Pashmina shawls and scarves gained more and more popularity, patrons of this regal art came from all over the world, especially Europe. They took with themselves a large number of shawls and then began exporting these in large quantities. It was Europeans who for the first time called this fine wool “Cashmere”. This was an anglicisation of the word “Kashmir”, where these heavenly beautiful shawls and scarves came from. 

Cashmere and Pashmina in today’s world 

Today, the fine hair of the Ladakhi goat is called Cashmere. And the art of transforming this Cashmere into luxury shawls, scarves or apparel is called Pashmina art. Pashmina art has hence come into existence in the 15th century, when Shah E Hamdan, a Persian traveller and saint discovered it in Ladakh for the first time. Although it is not just Ladakh, but several places in the Himalayan range where Pashmina producing goats are found, Ladakhi Cashmere is the finest. Hence Kashmiri Pashmina is the world’s most soft, fine and luxurious Pashmina. It is unparalleled and has no match. 

How is Pashmina used?

Why do babies love Cashmere blankets
Babies love Cashmere

The art of Pashmina is used to handcraft a number of wearables. Pashmina shawls, scarves, wraps, apparel, socks, pocket squares, and many other furnishing items are crafted from raw Cashmere. In addition to wearables for adults, baby blankets, baby socks, and fine baby sweaters, too, are crafted from soft and smooth Cashmere. This is because of the softness and zero itching caused by Cashmere, which makes it ideal for baby skin. 

Also read: Why do babies love Cashmere blankets?

Processing Cashmere into a Pashmina scarf

Transforming Cashmere into Pashmina is a laboursome task and takes months and sometimes years to complete. To procure Cashmere from Ladakh, one has to wait for the Spring season, as it is April-May when the moulting period of the goat starts. In this period, the goat loses some portion of this fine hair naturally. And next, in the summer season, it further rubs itself with coarse surfaces, to get rid of the left out hair on its body, which is now a source of discomfort for the goat. Further, if some hair is still on its body, herders comb it out gently. This finishes the process of acquiring Cashmere from the goat. This Cashmere is sent to Kashmir in small packets. 

On arrival, the packets are opened and raw Cashmere is cleaned thoroughly. It passes through a number of phases of cleaning, sorting and making it ready for further processing. Next, the clean Cashmere is handed over to spinners, who spin it and transform lumps of raw Cashmere into fine long threads. This is Cashmere yarn and it measures just 12-16 microns that are around one-fourth of human hair.

Weaving
Weaving the fibre into Pashmina

Yarn is sent to handloom owners, who prepare the handloom by fixing threads into its heddles. This takes a few days before the actual weaving starts. Weaving yarn into fabric takes 3-4 days for a women’s Pashmina scarf. 

It should be noted that every step in this process is manual. There is no use of machines, which makes Pashmina even more special. 

Is Pashmina a scarf?

A large portion of our audience believes that Pashmina means a kind of scarf. They are not fully wrong in saying this. Pashmina scarves are revered all over the world. But Pashmina is not itself a scarf. It is the art of handcrafting scarves from fine Cashmere. Pashmina scarves have a smaller size as compared to Pashmina shawls. Here is the measure of different types of wraps made from Cashmere. 

Women’s Pashmina shawls: 200*100 cm (L*B)

Women’s Pashmina scarves: 200*70 cm (L*B)

Women's pashmina wraps: 200*70 cm (L*B)

Pashmina scarves types

patterned cashmere scarf
The plush base, the classic weave pattern, the blending of two timeless shades, and the comfort fine Ladakhi Cashmere equips the wearer with, every feature is swoon worthy

There are a number of varieties as far as a Pashmina scarf is concerned. This is because the makers want women to wear Pashmina on almost all occasions so they feel warm, comfortable and exceptionally elegant always.

Solid Pashmina scarves: Plain Pashmina scarves are ideal for casual occasions or formal days in the office. 

Hand embroidered Pashmina scarves: For Weddings and special occasions, one can wear a hand-embroidered Pashmina scarf. Embroideries too can be thick and widespread, or intricate and limited, owing to the occasion. 

Printed and patterned Pashmina scarves: Animal prints, floral prints, striped patterns, checkered patterns, all can be perfect for casual get-togethers, office days, or gifts to office colleagues and friends. 

Kani Pashmina: Kani shawls or scarves are rich and dense in the weave. Hence these are ideal for brides, or a gift to a bride. 

However, your Pashmina scarf looks, rest assured that it is a responsible buy. Pashmina art is sustainable, and there is no animal cruelty associated with it. 

Also read: How to wear a Pashmina Scarf with a Formal Dress?

We, Pashmina.com, are the largest curators of pure and handcrafted Pashmina products in the online space. We are on a mission to revive this dying art by spreading our wings throughout the world by way of our online platform. Our website serves as a window to our range of products that are luxurious and have the highest quality. We offer the widest range, certified quality, luxurious packaging and free shipping to over 250 countries.

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