Pashm is a luxury brand committed to preserving the traditional artisanal craft of Pashmina. Our endeavor is to facilitate the production of authentic handcrafted Pashmina to ensure its sustainable growth. We aspire to design and develop beautifully handmade, timeless pieces from the finest Cashmere yarns through sensitively understanding the craft and blending its traditional essence with contemporary patterns. With a passion to work in an ethically responsible environment, Pashm strives to conserve the age-old practices of handcrafting pure Cashmere by nurturing present-day relevance in the very heart of this heritage craft
Pashm by Pashmina.com
Pashmina.com is a well-known premium platform that links the makers of Pashmina to its patrons. Our story began 7 years ago when a group of men with an artistic bent of mind discovered the beauty of Pashmina while traveling to Ladakh. Since then there has been no looking back. From the concept of a product through its curation to make it a masterpiece, our team of professionals have accumulated tremendous experience by spending every moment with the craft itself. Visiting Ladakh to check the quality and ethical practices, traveling to Kashmir to meet spinners and weavers, taking these beautiful accessories to CDI (Craft Development Institute of Kashmir) where quality check takes place, are activities which are carried out on a yearly basis. For these stringent practices which are aimed at offering you the best and purest of Pashmina art, we are very well known in the industry for our premium quality, strong environmental and social conscience, responsible and ethical practices and owners of the most beautiful Cashmere wraps ever known.
It was in the year 2015 when Pashmina.com gauged the possible decline of the craft. And since we as ardent patrons and supporters were deeply connected to it, we took an oath to revive the glorious craft and raise it to the same zenith that it once was favored with. It is then when we started selling Cashmere wraps online with an option of worldwide shipping. We began making customers aware of the fake pashminas which flooded the markets, by writing blogs and articles. We hired top designers who adapted the traditional Pashmina to the modern world by transforming it into a modern accessory. Hence we came up with traditional pashmina shawls in modern designs such as prints, patterns, and wraps with Swarovski studs, in an attempt to make youth realize that Pashmina isn't an old school art. It is just timeless. Soon our products reached Europe, the United States of America, Southeast Asia, Australia, in addition to India itself. Even some locals of Kashmir, where Cashmere is processed, choose to shop with us, because of the myriads of modern and classic patterns we have been able to mutate Pashmina with.
Addressing the challenges faced by local artisans, Pashmina.com works directly with them. There is no multiple-step supply chain where middlemen consume all profit. As such, artisans are duly compensated on time with an amount that satisfied their needs. We also give 5% of our proceedings for the welfare of the artisan community of Kashmir to help them take care of their families and continue working with Pashmina, which does not deserve decline or loss at any cost.
Pashm is a luxury brand introduced by Pashmina.com in 2020. Pashm is wildly used for centuries to define the Chanthangi goat cashmere hair, and in lieu, this is the word from where the peasant term Pashmina is derived from. At Pashm, we create original Cashmere wraps and scarves with innovative designs from Pure, manually acquired Cashmere yarn. Rather than following fleeting trends and fashions fads, Pashm is more inclined towards producing statement pieces that are as timeless as they are encompassing. Inspired by nature and handcrafted in an enduring fashion, Pashm offers the widest range of Cashmere wrap accessories for casual and formal occasions.
In the very first year of its beginning, Pashm has managed to strictly adhere to the traditional craft of Pashmina making by producing Pashmina from pure cashmere fiber. Our offerings are consistent with heritage Pashmina art. From the concept of the product through spinning, weaving, dyeing, embroidering to quality control, testing and packaging, you can rest assured about buying the purest form of Cashmere. It is only after a long, and tiring path of sophistication that the Cashmere traverses that it finally becomes a Pashm-quality garment.
The ethereal pieces from Pashm are ethically made and sustainably sourced. Each piece from our luxury assortment is a testimony of the artisans’ masterly skills and expertise. Hence Pashm serves the purpose of providing them a platform where their skills are celebrated and paid fairly for their immense creativity. We define the brand Pashm as a medium to improve the livelihood of underprivileged artisans by showcasing the artistic expressions of their long-held emotions, and a platform which helps preserve traditional art.
The opulent collection offered by Pashm is ethically sourced. Scarves, shawls, and hijabs, all are handcrafted from natural Cashmere fiber of a premium pure quality. The goats are painstakingly well reared for their wool which is ethically removed from their bodies, as it makes the goat uncomfortably warm in summers. The way we acquire Cashmere is absolutely cruelty-free.
Pashm has been built to leave a positive impact on people and the planet. We strive to make a healthy contribution to everyone who is associated with us. Hence the concepts of fair pricing and giving back to the planet grow simultaneously with Pashm. Along with offering fair priced beauties handmade in Cashmere, we give back 5% of our proceeds towards the welfare, education, and upliftment of the children and the women of artisan families and overall communities
History of Pashmina
Far away from the hustle and bustle of the main city, in the north of India, is a place where words fail to describe what the eyes see. Kashmir - quiet and serene, which has been called as "The Paradise on Earth '' - is full of scenic surprises. You spend a day in the mountains thinking this is the best you could see, and the plains start looking more beautiful. You spend time in the plains and realize that waters seem more alluring. You plan a day on the shore, but feel that the blooming Mughal gardens are worthy of spending an entire lifetime in. Hence, every corner of this place is beautiful and artistic. But other than scenic splendors, there is something that the valley has owned for centuries. It is the treasures of handicrafts.
In the 14th century, a reputed intellectual, saint, scholar, religious leader, and traveler, by the name of Mir Syed Ali Hamdani traveled to Kashmir with a group of craftsmen from Iran to uplift the society economically and socially. The missionaries were expert architects, engineers, technicians, and craftsmen who trained the locals on a regular basis. Soon Kashmiris became highly skilled artisans in a number of handicrafts like Pashmina making, embroidery, shawl making, copper making, Paper Mache, bookbinding, and more. However, the most well-known craft was Pashmina, and more and more Kashmiris chose Pashmina work as a source of income. Pashmina is the art of hand-weaving fine and delicate Cashmere yarns to produce Kashmiri shawls, scarves, sweaters, dresses, handkerchiefs, and many more luxury possessions.
Ladakh is a place situated 500 kilometers away from Kashmir. The region is as fresh and pure as a dream. This region consists of a mountain range which is as high as 15000 feet above sea level. On top of this mountain range is a place called Changthang. Changthang seems newly created. It feels as if pollution, dust, and noise from the main city will take ages to reach Changthang. The region of Changthang is occupied by herders who rear a special kind of goat. The goat is known as the Changthangi goat. It is this exotic species of goats that survive a temperature as low as -40 degrees, thanks to the exceptionally warm and luxury fleece which grows over their underbelly, throat, and other sensitive areas. It is this thin undercoat which is used to produce Pashmina.
The first person to discover Cashmere in Ladakh was Syed Ali Hamdani himself. He traveled to Ladakh and upon discovering the fine fleece, he immediately ordered socks to be made for the then king of Kashmir Zain ul Abideen. The king loved this gift so much that he ordered factories to be set up where Cashmere would be processed. This was how Pashmina came to be known to Kashmiris. Later they learned the art of making pashmina shawls and other luxury accessories themselves, which continues to date.
Process of making Pashmina:
Raw Cashmere wool is acquired from Changthang - Ladakh, where herders and professionals wait for spring to come so that the goat naturally gets rid of some wool by rubbing itself with rough surfaces. That being collected, the goat is further combed by professionals using specialized tools to ethically and gently remove the remaining wool off its body. Now the goat is free from the wool and herders to have raw cashmere, which is full of dust, dirt, plant extracts, and a lot of foreign material contamination which are indispensable to remove.
This raw Cashmere is sold to Kashmiri craftsmen and women of the household, who clean, dehair, and sort this raw wool, making it clean as processable. Later, these women mount the clean wool over a traditional spinning wheel called "Yinder" which converts raw wool into Cashmere yarn. The yarn, when manually spun over Yinder, becomes the finest thread in the world, whose diameter is just 12-16 microns. It takes long hours and months together to complete the spinning of yarn which is enough for making one Pashmina shawl. Note that it takes the wool of three Pashmina goats to make just one shawl of 100*200 cms size.
The spun Cashmere threads are handwoven by men of the family. A traditional wooden handloom is set and the yarn is mounted over its spindles. Then two or more men simultaneously work and produce a plain wrap. If the wrap is to be further processed, (printed, embroidered or embellished with studs) it is handed over to yet another group of local artisans.
As many as 50 families survive in the making of one Pashmina wrap. This is the biggest reason why Pashmina is revered so much in Kashmir. It has helped families survive, even in the worst of crises. Widowed and divorced women used to take care of their children by earning through the spinning of Cashmere yarn. Families when dealing with extreme poverty used to sell a piece of their Pashmina shawls and make money. Men have sustained their families for more than 50 years by earning through weaving Pashmina. Hence it can be said that Pashmina has been with Kashmiris through thick and thin.
Pashmina in and outside Kashmir
The Pashmina industry reached its zenith under the Mughal rule. Mughal rulers were completely fascinated by Pashmina art and owned large pieces of the same. This imperial patronage led to Pashmina art being famous all over the world, especially when Mughal rulers gave foreign delegates gifts in Pashmina only. In the 18th century, Pashmina reached Europe and became an accessory of high fashion. The great conqueror and monarch Napoleon gifted his wife, Empress Josephine, a few pieces of Kani shawls. The empress was so impressed that she ordered a few hundred Pashmina shawls in her entire lifetime which further made Pashmina a regal fashion statement in Europe. There was such a furor of Pashmina all over the world that now local markets started making copies of Pashmina in their hometown. The most famous amongst these was Scotland, which invented the paisley motif over Pashmina shawls, and called them Paisley shawls. Hence Pashmina became a well-known art all over the world, which gave Kashmir a high stature that it had never acquired before. Visitors used to come straight to artisans and buy handmade beauties. They wouldn't even negotiate the high prices and pay any amount that the sellers asked
Pashmina loses its Charm
The prominence and stardom of Pashmina didn't last long. With the advent of motorization and mechanization primarily by wild capitalism, the industry started to sink. Machines were now used to spin and weave Pashmina, which rendered artisans jobless. More than 4 lakh people lost their jobs and were forced to spend the rest of their lives in the darkness of poverty. The question remains if technology has such continuing benefits, why wasn't machine Pashmina accepted? The answer might be shocking to some, but machine Pashmina isn't considered Pashmina at all, here in Kashmir.
Pashmina is delicate. And the reason why it is the finest fiber in the world is this finesse and gentle texture of Pashmina. The fiber is so delicate that sometimes even hand spinning proves harsh for it, not to talk about machines. And hence, machine Pashmina makers add a certain percentage of nylon into pure Pashmina and make it worth the strain of a machine. As such, this shawl loses its purity, because as much as 30% nylon or any other strong fiber is mixed with the pure Cashmere threads. Even though this is totally against the traditional rules of Pashmina making, yet influential traders have still managed to carry out this unfortunate practice. By doing so, such ill practitioners of the art have brought a bad name to entire Pashmina making and the high-priced fabric has lost its value to cheap and fake machine-made pieces. Innocent customers, who aren't aware of what fake Pashminas means, fall prey to dishonest sellers in the market, and later get disappointed when the same shawl doesn't last long as pure Pashmina does. In addition to this, a Pure Cashmere wrap takes 3 to 4 days to complete, whereas a machine can make one shawl in just 10 minutes.
Woes of the Makers - Pashmina Artisans
With the unfortunate introduction of machines and power looms, the worst affected community remained that of the artisans. During the time when Pashmina ruled the world, artisans were revered and highly respected. They would be invited to foreign places and asked to train locals in the craft they mastered. But as soon as everything became mechanized, and customers opted for machine Pashminas, because of more than double the earlier supply, artisans too lost the respect and love they enjoyed in addition to losing their jobs. Reeling under the darkness of poverty, artisans didn't even narrate their ordeal because there was no one to listen. Some of them had as much as four generations working for pashmina, but now they themselves asked their children to find jobs, or work as a laborer, because "at least it could earn them well".
There was yet another problem that artisans faced. It was that of a long supply chain, following which the profit would almost disappear reaching down to artisans. Long supply chains made the end sellers wealthier and the poor artisans received wages as low as Rs 150 per month. This wasn't enough even for an individual, let alone for a family of 8 or 10 members. Hence, artisans quit Pashmina weaving and spinning and switched to labor or a white-collar job if possible.
The present scenario is totally the opposite of what the Pashmina industry was in the 16th or 17th centuries. The makers of Pashmina, who were once famous in Europe, arent even known to their neighbors now. The art, for which customers visited the valley from France, Iran, China, America, didn't even sell locally. Artisans have now switched to other jobs and advised the same to their children. Hence this generations-old craft is on the verge of decline, as nobody is interested to work for 8-10 hours a day and earn Rs 300 per month. This is considered cruel by any local artisan.
What is Real Pashmina
Original pashmina is just pure Cashmere yarn, handmade into wraps or outfits. Pure yarn acquired from spinning is traditionally handwoven over a classic loom and transformed to shawls, scarves, stoles, and more. It is later hand embroidered by master embroiderers and sold at well-deserved high prices.
Authentic Pashmina is exceptionally soft, warm, and feathery light. It is for these qualities that once Pashmina art reigned as the most supreme art.
Collections by Pashm
Pashm, as a brand, encompasses a splendid assortment of luxury Cashmere wraps. From traditional pieces, wedding Cashmere wraps, and full hand embroidered pashmina shawls to modish prints and conventional patterns, the brand has managed to cover every single category of Cashmere wraps that the admirers of art would need in an entire lifetime. Here are some beauties that you would only find at Pashm
- Over 50 colors of solids, ombre: At Pashm, we have managed to come up with almost all colors of solid Cashmere wraps. Be it brights or pastel, we have attempted to cover most of the shades you love, if not all. From bright turquoise, reds, and greens to pastel pinks, basic greens, and subtle whites, we have covered them all to blend with your everyday apparel. Apart from just plain shades, Pashm includes Ombre designs, prints, and in vogue patterns which mixes up a few colors to breathe freshness into basic apparel.
- Unique Swarovski Pashmina: A one of a kind assortment of Cashmere wraps has been newly added to this luxury compilation of heavenly beautiful wraps at Pashm. Beautiful shades of Cashmere wraps have been embellished with stunning Swarovski crystals which spread all over the base, making it look exactly like the night sky, beaming with stars. These kinds of wraps are perfect to wear for a night out with friends or a semi-formal evening soiree
- Plain Reversible Wraps: It's just the magical skills and expertise of the artisans which cant concoct such a fascinating piece of Cashmere. Reversible shawls feature two different shades or patterns on the front and back of a wrap which makes it look like you are wearing two wraps at the same time! At Pashm, we have combined beautiful colors or shades together to come up with ethereal pieces that you would want to own right now!
- Chantilly Lace Wraps: For your feminine aura, Pashm has come up with gracefully laced Cashmere wraps. Pastel and bright shaded Cashmere wraps, embellished with the world-famous French Chantilly lace are a new admission into our luxury assortment. The wraps look perfect with wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses or to wear for a formal occasion
- Prints and Patterns: Mutating from traditional to contemporary has never been easy. It took our designers years together to think about how to adapt traditional Pashmina to fit into the modern world. And they conjured this elegant edition of prints and patterns over classic Cashmere. The collection features chic stripes, checks, and abstract patterns in addition to modish prints, monogrammed patterns and more.
Pashm also encompasses a Luxury Edit of Pashminas. Here are a few more extravagant and lavish assortments:
- Hand Embroidered Shawls: Uniquely hand-embroidered Pashmina shawls and Cashmere scarves form the most exquisite part of Pashm. Pashmina shawls hand embroidered in traditional Sozni Kari, Tilla dozi and Paper Mache look nothing less than magical. shawls, if fully embroidered sometimes take more than 5 years to complete, but what comes out from the loom is just extraordinary
- Jamawar Paper Mache: A comparatively new type of embroidery which takes cues from Paper Mache craft, has been introduced to lend the gossamer fine Cashmere wraps a touch of brilliant colors. Papier Mache embroidery used thicker threads which on completion gives a protruding effect making the wraps look like live art. Usually, white shawls are hand embroidered in rainbow colors of embroidery to make the shawl look colorful and empyrean.
- Aksi DoRukha Shawls: The most regal collection that Pashm houses is the Aksi Do Rukha Pashmina shawls. An assortment of fully embroidered shawls hosting thick embroidery patterns both on the front and back, making each side the mirror image of the other. Aksi Do Rukha shawls have been an important part of Mughal royal courts and have enjoyed royal patronage for centuries.
- Kani Shawls: It was the Kani shawl that fascinated Empress Josephine so much that she ordered a few hundred of them for herself and her royal friends. Kani shawls are handwoven for 3-4 years together, an inch per day, and this labor-intensive work makes this shawl worth keeping for a lifetime.