You might ask a person why choose a traditional Kashmiri shawl over a modish wrap accessory. But you might not be aware of the fact that traditional apparel has its own grace. Let's hear from our fashion experts why they suggest Pashmina, and how ethical fashion is the new way to style.
Almost all of us have purchased a new accessory, which even before we return home, earns our dislike. We might like it for a season or two. But then it just lies there in the darkest corners of our room, never to see the sunlight again. This is a problem with fashion fads. They might blend with your personality or look completely strange. Baggy pants, colorful jeans, feathered hats, and patterned boots might seem chic in a store. But as soon you reach home, all this suddenly turns crazy and attention-seeking. Unfortunately, there are seasons when one has only invested in trendy outfits, and of a sudden, a formal event appears. That's when a sustainable outfit will help.
There are many good reasons to incorporate sustainable goods in our formal and festive wardrobes; if not in our daily wear. If we are careful enough with them, these pieces have the power to make us the best version of ourselves. Apart from holding on to our culture, there are many more reasons to choose sustainable apparel.
Reasons to go for sustainable apparel
It was long before the industrial revolution and the machine age when synthetic fibres took over, that cultural outfits existed. Pashminas were always made of natural fibre and were hence sustainable. This property makes them comfortable, easy to wear, environment friendly and so comfortable. Synthetic fibres try to reincarnate sustainable natural ones. But always fail to copy the exact sophisticated looks that a traditional outfit would exude.
Sustainability is never out of style. Traditional outfits, which existed before machines took over, are still wearable and carry an innate grace within themselves. Slow fashion, ethical practices, and the use of hazard-free techniques were the key to making traditional outfits. This kept these outfits alive for longer. Even if sustainable fashion is a bit on the high side of the price scale, but its timelessness makes it perfect for every period of time.
Help local artisans and communities
In the current scenario, sustainability is only prepared by artisans who are in their old age now. The machine age sure took away from them their fame and jobs pushing them into poverty. But it could never snatch from them their adept skill and painstaking efforts that modern apparel never experiences.
Hence, if we invest in more sustainable outfits, be it an accessory made of natural fabric, we are helping the local community survive. We are assisting our brethren to prosper once again.
With regards to traditions and sustainable fashion, Kashmir has its own glorious history to offer, and cultural apparel to swoon over. Not just apparel, Kashmir has a history of rich embroideries, fabrics, accessories, jewelry patterns, and many artistic treasures to flaunt. Yet there is something about Kashmir, that the entire world is swooning over. And it has been so from the time it was first discovered. We are talking about Kashmiri Pashmina Shawls.
What is Pashmina?
Pashmina is the Kashmiri art of handcrafting luxury shawls, wraps, or apparel from the finest Cashmere fibre. It comes from the undercoat of the Capra Hircus goat found in Ladakh. The fibre is natural. Artisans acquire it in a cruelty-free environment. It is then handcrafted by the artisan community without the use of machines and power looms. Hence world-famous Pashmina is a perfect example of sustainable fashion, and that is what we have to offer.
The making of Pashmina is complex and meticulous. Every year, the goat sheds its hair naturally, and herders collect it. They then clean and sort, spin and weave it, to come up with a luxurious and warm fabric called Pashmina. From this fabric, Kashmiri shawls, stoles, scarves, wraps, or hijabs are crafted and sold all over the world. The fabric has kept Kashmiri traditions alive for ages now.
History of Pashmina
It was in the 17th century when a traveler passed by a beautiful valley on the silk route. The traveler noticed that local nobles and affluent people wore a type of shawl. The shawl was exceptionally luxurious and graceful. It was given as a gift to kings and queens of other countries as a sign of respect or allegiance. The group of travelers decided to call it Cashmere (from the place of its origin Kashmir). Locally it is known as Pashmina, and it is this luxury craft that has awestruck fashion designers and celebrities alike.
When talking of traditions, the Pashmina shawl is one of the most essential ingredients of a traditional wedding. A mother gifts her daughter a number of Kashmiri shawls as she embarks on a new journey of life. It is considered a lucky charm and blessings from elders which the bride takes along to her new home.
Earlier it was either only brides who wore Kashmiri shawls or affluent women who wrapped themselves in expensive pieces. But since modernization took over, Pashmina was woven into more wearable pieces. Plain shawls, printed stoles, or the ones with less embroidery came into being. This step was welcomed by local artisans who appreciated the incorporation of ancient traditions into the everyday lives of women.