Come winter, and it’s time to pull out those fabulous pashminas. Ask any fashionista about her favourite winter wardrobe piece and chances are that she will mention it’s her pashmina. Traditionally in the Indian context, a pashmina is as important in a woman’s wardrobe as a little black dress. Shahnawaz Shawl, from SA Shawls, who retails pashminas in the US, European and Indian markets says, “A pashmina is not only fashionable but also very functional because a seemingly light fabric can keep away the worst of winter chills.” Sameer Mehra, from Ezma says, “Pashmina shawls are a classic addition in your wardrobe.”
Know the History
Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool and the textiles made from it. The name comes from Pashmineh, made from Persian pashm (wool). Shilpi Dhir from Giovani says, “The wool comes from changthangi or pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas, Nepal and northern India. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and made from fine cashmere fiber. Due to the fine and thinner quality of fiber, it is ideal for making light weight apparel like fine scarves and shawls. The test for a quality pashmina is that it gives exceptional warmth and is extremely soft to touch.”
Pashmina shawls come with a high price tag, as the range varies from few thousands to lakhs depending on the quality of the product. “The beauty of a Pashmina lies in its kind of weave. The better the craftsmanship on a pashmina, the better its quality,” says Kulbhushan Ahuja from Ahujasons. “Check the fiber content before investing in a pashmina. The popular term ‘pashmina’ is not a labelling term recognised by the Wool Act and rules, hence ask for 100% cashmere products which is a globally recognised term,” adds Mehra. Smita Singh Rathore from 11.11 by CellDSGN says, “A real pashmina is so soft and fine that a whole pashmina stole can be pulled through a small ring.”
Taking care of pashmina
DRY WASH: Always dry clean your pashminas
STORE WELL: Store them wrapped in a muslin cloth or protective case. You may also hang your shawl on a padded hanger
SMELL FREE: Do not keep them with naphthalene balls or cakes as it will absorb its smell
SPOT ON: Do not spray any kind of perfume directly on your pashmina scarf or shawl, since it will leave water spots.
IRONING BASICS: If you want to iron your pashmina, then do it using a protective cloth and at low temperature.
KEEP AWAY FROM THE SUN: Keep pashmina shawls out of direct sunlight for long periods of time to prevent the colours from fading.
By Vandy Mehra, designer