With the fashion sense undergoing massive changes in the 21st century, there has been a major introduction of shawls into the fashion domain. Having a Persian origin, a cashmere pashmina is a piece of clothing that covers the body and keeps it warm. With its synonyms being named in French as ‘chale’, or an Italian ‘scialle’ and a German ‘schall’, this can be touted as a rectangular shaped wraparound that can be perfectly used as a mantle to cover up one’s shoulders.
Amongst a wide variety that is available, a cashmere pashmina shawl top the list with its intense beauty and grace, and soft silken nature. As one of the best fibres that are produced on this planet from purely natural resources, this wool and its products are surely worth noticeable.
Decoding the beauty associated with cashmere pashmina fibre
Coming from the underbelly of Tibetan goats thriving within the Kashmir region, this soft silky fibre is a by-product of the Changthangi goats, as they shed their winter coats during spring season. The shawls, scarves and other products that are spun out of this ‘pashm’ are officially known as cashmere pashmina products. This wool is collected, and sent to northern valleys of Kashmir, where it is processed by crafted hands. Putting an approximate time of 180 hours finally provides one with a cashmere pashmina.
To match up to this beauty and keep its origin undiluted, there is a scientific determination of this cashmere pashmina product. The diameter of fibre and staple length determines the quality of it. Also, for manufacturers of this product, they generally prefer fibre that is within the range of 13-20 microns. With spinning of this fibre, a number of microscopic air pockets are formed that adds to the softness and beauty in the final product.
Apart from Himalayan goats, the Orenburg and Mongolian breeds in goat are also major source of this variety wool, though their quality does not reach standards of the typical ‘changra’ goats.
Fashion with a cashmere pashmina
Trading system is surely one of the most prominent ways to enhance and bring about a change in fashion stances. Quite similarly, the cashmere pashmina shawl became a rage in the 19th century western world. Completely spun by crafted hands, and being the highest quality in terms of soft nature, this ‘do-shaala’ was the garb of royalty. Courtesy to this trading system, very soon, the ‘royal fabric’ of India became cashmere pashmina!
Beauty associated with weaving of this cashmere pashmina
The unique art of weaving cashmere pashmina dates back to a number of centuries. With its variety of types, ranging from ‘jamawar’ to ‘rumal’ to ‘do-shaala’ finally to ‘cummerband’ all has its own set of positive aspects.
While the ‘do-shaala’ was specifically long pairs of pashmina cloth, the ‘rumal’/’qasaba’ was a square type covering for women. For Asian women, ‘cummerbands’ were one stylish girdle that differentiated them from other civilisations. Cupping all of this come the ‘jamawar’ that was specifically designed for men to wear as part of outer garment, the ‘angrakha’ or ‘choga’.
In present times as well, the true beauty of a cashmere pashmina rests in its spinning by hand. Though power looms have taken an important place, and the ‘talim’ is being digitalised, yet the basic embroidery and ‘kani’ design that is specifically associated with this is handmade. Clearly, the beauty of pashmina and the craft of its spinning surely have a long path to traverse!