About Pashmina Cashmere

The origin of Pashmina dates back to ancient civilization. Those days it was renowned as the” Fiber for Royals & Emperors”. The ancient tradition of Pashmina started with the Mughals, rulers who came down from Persia and invaded India in the 16th century), and encouraged the artisans in the Indian province of Kashmire to weave shawls. The name ‘Pashmina’ is derived from the Persian word for wool. People living in the high mountains of Nepal discovered the unique and wonderful properties of wool from Mountain Goat. This wool when weaved with the Kashmiri weaving technique gave birth to what is today known as “Nepali Pashmina” or Cashmere Pashmina in the Western fashion world.

IMG_0108Changra Pashmina is ultra-fine cashmere, harvested from the underbelly and under the chin of the Himalayan Mountain Goat, locally called “Chyangra”, which lives at the altitude above 3000 meters in the most remote regions of Nepal. Inhabiting in the freezing cold climate these hardy goats, otherwise known as Capra Hircus, produces some of the warmest fibers that is used to make Pashminas. Pashmina fibers are obtained from combing and collecting naturally shed wool from these goats. The delicate Fur combing process is performed every spring from the same goat for many years without harming the goats. The collected fur is then spun into fine yarn which is woven to make extraordinarily soft and warm Pashmina products like baby blankets, shawls, stoles, scarves as well as pullovers, cardigans, etc. The lighter the hair, the softer is the fiber. Some Pashmina even feel lighter because silk has been woven in. The outer layer fibers of “Chyangra” are discarded as they are comparatively thicker & coarser. Thus only the inner layer fibers measuring fewer than 16.5 microns are qualified for use as “Pashmina”. Exquisite art of weaving in Nepal has been passed on from one generation to another and to the present times where the art has taken a modern adaptation for color, texture and design and at the same retain all the original good quality and wonderful and unique properties. Pashmina is the softest, exotically delicate, weightless and the finest natural insulating fiber of the world. With proper care both pure Pashmina and silk Pashmina shawls and blanket will retain its beauty and warmth for many years. Because of these unique and wonderful properties, “Pashmina Fiber” is considered a “Diamond Fiber”.

Changra

In ancient times “Pashmina” was used in unblended form but later combinations with silk, cotton etc., came in practice. In due course of time and after long years of experience and experiments, Pashmina yarn and silk yarn were combined to make a stronger fiber, increase durability suppleness and strength, color and finish. Lately Pashmina blended with silk fibers is gaining a lot of popularity. When blended with silk fibers, the resulting fabric, usually referred to as silk Pashmina or silk cashmere, is durable, soft and luxurious. Today, most of the world’s Pashmina shawls are woven on handlooms by traditional weavers in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley with the fibers collected from the mountainous and Himalayan regions through cooperative system of collection. And most are woven on a warp of spun silk for increased suppleness and strength. Because of these extraordinary qualities of Pashmina fiber, it has evolved into unique types of wraps and blanket offering utmost comfort, warmth & Style. A larger facility in Kathmandu valley processes the Pashmina. Collection from small individual families and household in the mountains is coordinated through a regional collection center. Small cottage industries and weavers make products out of the wool thus collected.

shawlIn ancient times “Pashmina” was used in unblended form but later combinations with silk, cotton etc., came in practice. In due course of time and after long years of experience and experiments, Pashmina yarn and silk yarn were combined to make a stronger fiber, increase durability suppleness and strength, color and finish. Lately Pashmina blended with silk fibers is gaining a lot of popularity. When blended with silk fibers, the resulting fabric, usually referred to as silk Pashmina or silk cashmere, is durable, soft and luxurious. Today, most of the world’s Pashmina shawls are woven on handlooms by traditional weavers in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley with the fibers collectshawled from the mountainous and Himalayan regions through cooperative system of collection. And most are woven on a warp of spun silk for increased suppleness and strength. Because of these extraordinary qualities of Pashmina fiber, it has evolved into unique types of wraps and blanket offering utmost comfort, warmth & Style. A larger facility in Kathmandu valley processes the Pashmina. Collection from small individual families and household in the mountains is coordinated through a regional collection center. Small cottage industries and weavers make products out of the wool thus collected.

UntitledA study report of the International Trade Center, a subsidiary of the World Trade Organization, shows that there are around 300,000 chyangras being reared in the high regions including Mustang, Humla, Mugu and Dolpa districts. As per the study, 55,000 chyangras are being raised in Mustang district alone. An estimated 8 tonnes of pashmina wool can be produced out of them annually. Some rural development programs in Nepal have been supporting chyangra and yak farming and are keen on supporting the supply chain. According to the Nepal Pashmina Industries Association (NPIA), the program supports the supply side of Pashmina yarn through goat farming in the high hill areas which provides income to small farmers to help with other basic needs like clothes and books.

 

 

UNDERSTANDING PASHMINA CASHMERE

How is cashmere different from lamb’s wool or any other wool? Not only the method of collection of cashmere differs from wool, cashmere or pashmina differs quiet significantly from wool in terms of composition and quality. There is a very gentle combing process involved in collecting cashmere compared to how wool is collected. Some people having seen or heard some horror stories of shearing wool from sheep that may make them apprehensive about buying cashmere. Understanding some of the collection process will help chase away the fear and to know that these beautiful goats are raised and prized for their warm fur that they naturally shed during the spring season to grow new ones.

Buying these warm cashmere shawls, scarfs, stoles, blankets and accessories you are only helping and not hurting. Your purchase goes a long way to help the goat live and be cared for by not being butchered for meat. The pastureland land and alternative income for people who raise goats are big challenges and we are very committed to work with these small producers in building their resources and capacity to gain confidence in their belief that these small business will bring them some additional income they need to meet their basic need of feeding their families and sending them to school. We will slowly but certainly create better conditions for both the livestock and the families who raise them. Lack of big mechanized industries and other job opportunities this is all these small households have and we want to work with that they have in their own place and give them some hope that these beautifully handcrafted product can win the heart of people as they see their use.

We will be transparent to let our customers know that currently our cashmere comes from similar hilly areas of Mongolia as the prolonged political crisis and devastating earthquake shattered the Pashmina industry in Nepal created massive shortages in cashmere supplies and we are trying to help the industry to stand back on its own feet by using as much as we can Nepali Pashmina and supplementing the deficit from Mongolia. Mongolia is a place little better off but similar to Nepal with similar household and rural economy.