Pashmina.com reviving the sacred art of Pashmina
- With hundreds of artisans on the verge of quitting shawl making, Varun, and his team at Pashmina.com are trying hard to keep the handloom tradition alive, and working continuously toward restoring the lost prestige that Pashmina once relished.
Kashmir is globally renowned for its rich handicraft sector, which comprises exquisitely handcrafted Pashmina shawls, carpets, Papier Mache and more. Whilst every single craft is marvelous in itself, it is Pashmina making that stands eminent and distinguished in all aspects.
People from far and beyond visited the valley and with time, Kashmir saw a huge splurge of financial opportunities and acclaim for its Pashmina shawls on a global level. However, the fame did not last long. Unfortunately, the centuries old Pashmina making, which once supported the entire economy of Kashmir, slowly started dwindling.
With the introduction of power looms, the traditional art of shawl making is losing its charm and relevance. Half a million artisans associated with it are doubtful of its future. Many of them have already lost jobs to modernized machinery while others forbid future generations to opt for its continuation. Some find their wages inadequate to fulfill daily needs, while others, who could not bear the disgrace that machine-made Pashmina shawls brought to the trade, have already switched to other jobs.
Disheartened by the present scenario and the possible future of Pashmina, Varun Kumar – the founder of Pashmina.com - abandoned an established career to revive the reputation that Pashmina and its makers once experienced. With an unconditional love for Pashmina which he had discovered on a visit to Kashmir, Varun could not bear its downfall at any cost. Thus, came into being Pashmina.com – a much needed platform which connects artistically handmade pure Pashminas to the true patrons, who have long been irked by the intervention of machines in the trade.
As per studies more than 80% of Pashminas are made on machines now. A Pashmina shawl that handloom can produce in 3-5 days is mechanically produced in just 10 minutes. And even though power looms have been banned by the local government, there are still influential traders who use these and mar the livelihood of underprivileged local artisans. Local craftsmen are paid remuneration which are not enough to survive an individual, let alone their families. Despite being aware of the fact that fake Pashminas, and machine-made copies of Pashmina have already brought a bad name to the overall industry, wild capitalism is still rampant.
Other than being cruel to the artisans, mechanized Pashmina making unwillingly makes this traditional craft a part of today's fast fashion. Since its conception, Pashmina has been sustainable and every process that goes into making a Pashmina shawl is slow, ethical and planet friendly. But mechanization has ruined Pashmina of this reputation too and hence confiscated its special status.
“Time itself is a testimony to the superiority of Kashmiri Pashmina. The techniques used by Pashmina artisans and the craftsmanship employed into working on handloom is unmatched. If such a heritage craft is on the verge of extinction, we can’t sit back and relax”, says Varun, whose interest peaked further when he realised the amount of labor that is employed into producing a Pashmina shawl. It has been eight years since then, and the team of Pashmina.com hasn’t for a day stopped to bring up new ideas of rejuvenating this heritage art. Employing sustainable practices, maintaining ethical relations with artisans and employees, and showing a responsible behaviour towards the environment are the key characteristics of their business model. This is how Pashmina.com has been able to produce luxury Cashmere products of unmatched quality in exquisite designs.
“It is an honour that we are considered patrons of a dying art who understand its eminence for the economy and the makers. We are on a journey of bringing the age old luxury Pashmina back to life and reward its makers for their incomparable skill besides the way they put their heart and soul into it”, says Varun.
Disclaimer: This is a company press release. No HT journalist was involved in the creation of this content.