Jammu & Kashmir

To restore lost glory of Pashmina, Craft Centre to focus on hand woven legacy

Srinagar: In order to restore the lost glory of Pashmina shawls, a Srinagar based training centre Craft Centre for Excellence in Pashmina Weaving is restarting the process of hand-weaving of Pashmina shawls to revive the ancient old technique at a commercial scale.

The centre is scheduled to get officially inaugurated tomorrow morning in Kheiwan Narwara area of Srinagar.

The initiative will also re-engage women weavers of Kashmir, the founder of the centre Mujtaba Kadri, said in a statement.

Kadri, who also owns the brand ‘Me&K’ brand, said the weavers will initially be creating unique pieces for Aadhyam, a label owned by the Aditya Birla Group.

Director Handicrafts Mehmood Ahmed Shah and Maximiliano Modesti, a well known Craft Preservationist, will also be present on the occasion.

The opening of this centre represents an important step in reviving, promoting and protecting Kashmir Valley’s ancient hand-weaving techniques, which are being lost and forgotten due to the proliferation of cheap, machine-spun cashmere, Kadri said.

He said the initiative is bringing much needed sustainable employment opportunities for spinners (women) and weavers, whilst also ensuring them decent working conditions and fair wages.

The Centre for Excellence in weaving prides itself on using only traditional hand techniques to produce the finest pashmina in the world – which Kashmir is famous for.

The yarn is spun by hand, using a charkha (spinning wheel) rather than a machine spun yarn. This makes the threads much finer, resulting in a softer and smoother Pashmina. The exclusive focus on hand techniques means that wages offered to the craftspeople are almost double the market rate.

The inauguration function on Wednesday will also see the launch of ‘Ladakh Pashmina’ – an exciting initiative to improve the quality of raw Pashm coming into Kashmir by certifying at Craft Development Institute Srinagar.

The raw Pashm is packed in 1kg bags, making it authentic and affordable for small-scale weavers. Me&K has chosen Tariq Shair, the founder and treasurer of Kashmir Pashmina Organisation of AK shawls as the sole distributor for Raw Pashmina.


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