WHAT IS PASHMINA ?

 

The cashmere pashmina goat lives in the Himalayas at more than 4500m high. In the spring it is combed so as to collect the pashmina down that protects it from winter cold. Pashmina is the finest and most luxurious variety of cashmere.this handwoven cashmere pashmina shawl has been made with the finest sustainable cashmere from the Himalayas

 

Harvested in high altitude, Pashmina is the most noble cashmere variety, the oldest and the most luxurious.

It is derived from the Changra goat's light winter undercoat. It is the finest and softest in the neck and stomach area. This down of "pashm" is a kind of hyper cashmere that the goat only produces in extreme conditions, that is to say beyond 4500 m altitude. It is therefore collected on the foothills of the Himalayas, especially in Ladakh.

One goat produces about 150g of pashmina per year. In the spring when it loses its winter fur, it is combed in order to gather the fine silkier hair which is longer and of high quality. 

While a cashmere fiber has a diameter less than 19 microns, pashmina is thinner : less than 15 microns.

 

However, it is interesting to note that this definition, according the tradition, has no legal value. Indeed, the pashmina fiber, contrary to cashmere, is not labelled.

 

 

 

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PASHMINA THROUGH CENTURIES
Handwoven cashmere pashmina make the most luxurious shawls since the 15th century and is worn by kings and powerful people

 

 

The word pashmina comes from the Persian word "pashmînah" which means woolen from the "pashm", the Changra goat's down.

The Kashmir Valley population was famous for weaving shawls. The wool came from the winter fleece of goats in Central Asia and the Himalayas, who lived more than 4500 meters above sea level.
Since antiquity cashmere wool is one of the biggest luxury goods transported by road to the Roman Empire. This industry soared in the 16th century during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar which gave him the status of royal patronage, favoring a highly qualitative development.
Mostly worn by men, pashmina shawls where once a privilege and only worn by kings.

Josephine the french empress was handwoven cashmere pashmina addict and made them famous in europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 18th century Kashmir exported shawls to Europe, first in England and then in France after the Napoleonic campaigns.

Being a great partner, Empress Josephine then started to campaign for the fashionable Kashmir shawl, which then saw an undeniably huge craze throughout the century. Being very expensive, it was a symbol of social distinction and a centerpiece of bridal outfits. It was heavy and richly embroidered.

Forgotten during the 20th century, Pashmina experienced a newfound surge in popularity in the 90s with the new launch of the fashionable garment by Hollywood stars...

 

Historically this "diamond" wool is synonymous with luxury.

 

 

 

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SHAWL MANUFACTURING

Shot in 2015, this video of our craftsmen has travelling around the world to become the reference in the field: Princesse Moghole is proud to reveal the secrets of making a real Pashmina ♡

 

LADAKH : Harvesting pashmina 

 

pashmina goats or changra goats lives in the himalayas and produce the finest cashmere in the world chang-pa nomad lives in ladakh in the himalayas and raise the pashmina goats called changra goat

 

To withstand the frigid temperatures of the Himalayan winter which can reach -50°C, the pashmina goats develop an inner fleece as a downy and doubling their usual coat thickness. It is harvested in the spring by brushing the animals to collect the softer and longer hair, the finest ranging from the lower part of the neck and stomach. 

This pashmina fur is the main source of income for nomadic herders Chang Pa and perpetuates the traditional way of life at 4600m high, in the highlands of Ladakh, on the border of Tibet. To protect their financial success, the price for their furs was set by the Indian State at 3700 rupees for 2 kg. 

The fibers are washed and sorted, then the "pashm" fleece is routed to Srinagar in Kashmir valley, the only region in the world to master the delicate art of weaving.



Traditional and still handmade, this production of "historical" cashmere, respectful of the environment, sustainable and ethically responsible, represents today only 0,5% of the world production, against 90% for the cashmere said "of Mongolia" which actually comes to 80% from China..

 

 

changpa nomad raise the pashmina cashmere goats  to collect the "pashm" since centuriesto collect the "pashm" or pashmina cashmere fleece, the shepherd comb the goats at spring seasonthe finest cashmere pashmina fleece come from the goat's underbelly

 

KASHMIR : Spinning and weaving

 

 

For centuries, the region of Kashmir has acquired unparalleled expertise in weaving pashmina. However, due to political instability, the disorganized productions and sometimes-questionable business practices, this region has been loosing its supremacy compared to the production by their neighbour Nepal. Although Nepal does not possess the same knowledge, it is a more stable and reliable economic partner for importing countries.

 

the finest "pashm" or pashmina cashmere fleece is selected to be spunthe cashmere pashmina spinning process is traditionally made by hand by women

 

 

Spinning

Down is first spun by hand using a spinning wheel, it is very delicate work and traditionally done by women.

 

 

 

Cashmere pashmina is handwoven by skilled craftsmen : it is a very old artthe cashmere pashmina is handwoven by men. It takes 4 days to weave a shawl

 

 

 

Weaving

The resulting yarn is then hand woven on traditional wooden looms using ancestral techniques. One of the most popular woven patterns, and for making the finest shawls, is bird's eye (Bulbul) or the diamond pattern. The wool used is naturally of a brown or cream colour, which allows for simple dyeing.

> Shop the plain pashminas collection !

 

the cashmere pashmina shawl is hand embroidered by skilled masters

 

 

 

 

Embroidery

The shawl is then dyed and can be embroidered. This is long, meticulous and almost mystical work, done exclusively by men that work at a very fast pace. A shawl can also be woven in different colours, with patterned stripes, squares or arabesques directly inserted into the frame.

> Shop the embroidered pashminas collection !

 

 

 

 

 

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ORIGINAL AND IMITATIONS

NO LABEL

 

 

 

 

real or fake pashmina : there is no label to protect the true cashmere handwoven pashmina

The main difficulty lies in the fact that, unlike Kashmir, pashmina fiber has never been protected by a brand. Bought by a Chinese company, the brand PASHMINA uses labels that do not indicate the composition of the material.

From a legal standpoint, the pashmina is not recognised material. The name 100% Pashmina on labels masks synthetic fibers such as viscose fabric or polyester.

However, with a rich tradition and a quality reputation that is centuries old, the term “pashmina” in the minds of consumers leaves a lot of confusion which unscrupulous traders can easily take advantage of.
Who hasn’t tried to buy a "real" pashmina during a tourist trip to India ? It is confusing ? Between confusion caused by the seller and the inflation of prices, there are few that will find a real pashmina without paying 3 times the price...

 

 

 

 

 

MANY REPRODUCTIONS

 

The word Pashmina is so widely used - and legally - to designate a simple fabric with fringes, here are the different materials that you might encounter :

 
Viscose : The most frequent imitation. Soft fabric, smooth to the touch and slightly shinny. It wrinkles easily. 
Acrylic : soft synthetic fabric that tends to wrinkle, pill and accumulate static.
Cashmere / Silk : tightly woven, soft and slightly shiny, complete with braided fringes. It is a natural and pleasant material but less expensive than pure Pashmina. 
Wool : sheep wool can be woven into diamond patterns and chemically made ​​softer. It is the imitation that is most difficult to tell apart from real pashmina. However, the fiber is less soft, less light and less hot. And cheaper! But it is still a natural fiber.
Machine woven cashmere : It is not a pashmina strictly speaking since it is not woven by hand with Ladakh cashmere down, but woven industrially with Mongolian cashmere which has been added a nylon thread to make it more resistant to the tension of the machine. This nylon thread is then dissolved in a chemical bath. Its appearance and touch are almost identical to that of a pashmina: only a very trained eye manages to recognize it.

 

 

 

HOW TO RECOGNIZE A REAL PASHMINA

 

Recognize a synthetic fiber from natural fiber : the test of fire. Remove a string from the material and burn it. If it burns quickly in a large, bright flame, giving off a smell of burnt paper: it is viscose. Other synthetic fibers like polyester will even burst into hard little balls of fire. Silk, wool and Kashmir burn easily, without emitting flames, and release an odor of burnt horns.

 

a original cashmere handwoven pashmina never has fringesa original pashmina is handwoven with the finest himalayan cashmere pashmina

 

Fringes help eliminate blends mixed with silk, synthetic or even Kashmir from Mongolia. A true pashmina is almost NEVER accompagnied by braided fringes, the fiber is too fine, but sharp edges are left open from marks left by the loom. 
This is the easiest way to eliminate many imitations!

 

 

 

 

 

 





warning ! a lot of imitations looks like a real handwoven cashmere pashmina

 

Nevertheless, a fine sheep or lamb wool can be woven like a pashmina using a diamond pattern. I’ve seen on a Paris market a material labeled 100% Cashmeer (120 euros). The spelling mistake in the word cashmere is clearly intended to show that the client is in error...












But the most difficult imitation to detect - to the point that even professionals may have doubts - is the machine-woven fabric with a cashmere yarn from Mongolia. Even if it is in cashmere, this industrial article is not a true pashmina and will not present its longevity.



this jacquard weaving shows it is a fake machine made pashmina



There are 2 ways to unmask it:

> if it presents in its weave patterns woven in arabesque (or jacquard), it is that it was woven on a mechanical loom = it is thus a fake



when the weaving is too much uniform, it cannot be handcraftedA real pashmina presents an irregular weaving guarantee of the realization in the hand

> if his weaving is much too uniform and does not present the small irregularities proper to the passage of the hand of the man. To make sure of this it is enough to examine the fabric in transparency in the light. In addition it will generally be lighter than a real pashmina.









So how do you know ?

An authentic hand-woven Pashmina in pure Himalayan cashmere will be soft, light, crease-resistant and immediately warm to wear.

He will present in his weaving slight irregularities guaranteeing its manufacture on a manual loom.

it will have been made in Kashmir exclusively, a region stretching from northern India to Pakistan. No real pashmina is woven in Nepal.

Finally it will have to be labeled 100% cashmere and will NEVER be cheap.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is necessary to be very vigilant!



> SHOP THE GENUINE HANDWOVEN CASHMERE PASHMINAS COLLECTION

Photo credit © Claire Denouel / Princesse Moghole