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Perfect for pairing with occasion wear, as a wedding shawl or to simply put a refined finish on your outerwear collection, the timeless pashmina, or pashmina scarf, is an extremely versatile staple for any fashion conscious wardrobe. The past few decades have witnessed an increased interest in the shawl. Earlier used just as a wrap to protect oneself from the biting cold, today it is also about making a style statement. Wrap a pashmina shawl around shoulders for a touch of late-evening warmth, or tie around your neck for casual panache.
Pashmina is one of the most luxurious and fashionable materials available in the world today. For centuries, garments woven from Pashmina have been adored by the world’s elite. Kashmiri Pashmina is the finest, most exquisite fabric ever made. It has taken centuries of experimentation and refinement to raise this traditional practice of shawl making from a necessity to a unique textile art.
A pashmina shawl can dress up any outfit whether a formal occasion such as a wedding or dinner date or simply used as a summer evening wrap. These shawls can be worn for any event and as an investment piece for your wardrobe, pashminas can’t be beaten. Perfect for the fashion conscious consumer.
Pashminas shot to prominence in the 1990’s when they were all over the catwalks of London, Paris, New York and Milan. Since then shawls in all shapes and sizes have become a staple of almost every fashion conscience women’s wardrobe, and a classic fashion accessory, especially for formal events and particularly as a wedding shawl. What could be more elegant than a large cream or white pashmina scarf draped around the shoulders of the bride and bridesmaids? In fact, wedding shawls have been used by many cultures for thousands of years so really this modern trend is steeped in tradition.
Warm and versatile, they can be worn as a scarf with your winter outerwear or as a wrap over your cocktail dress during holiday soirées. Pashmina is a natural insulator that is warm in winter and easy to wear in the summer; a perfect trans-seasonal accessory. A pashmina is huge yet it folds away into nothing and, frankly, there's nothing so chic as travelling light on your holidays.
The word “Pashmina” is also steeped in history and comes from ancient Persian and means “wool of the kings”. Thousands of years ago nomads living in the high Himalayas discovered that the wild goats that lived at these elevated altitudes would lose some of their fine coats as it got snagged on thorny bushes. They would naturally malt in summer months and people would search for these clumps of wool. (You may be surprised to discover that it takes the entire annual growth of three of these goats to create just one pashmina shawl.) This was undoubtedly the soft fleece wool from which were made the famous and much coveted 'ring shawls' in Mughal times.
This raw fibre was then spun into a fine yarn which was then woven by locals on traditional wooden handlooms into shawls and scarves. Over time demand for these exceedingly fine shawls increased and with such a limited supply of product the prices naturally went sky high. This is how the Pashmina became the wool of the kings. It was so expensive that only royalty could afford it. It is said that to wear one of these is like having a warm hand on your back.
Over time the goats that provided the yarn were domesticated but to produce the extra fine yarn they still needed to live in bitter cold at 4500 – 6000mts altitude and supplies of yarn would always been limited. As the popularity of Pashmina scarves or shawls increased, merchants and artisans would add value by embellishing them with intricate hand embroidery. The very best of these would take over two years to embroider and cost, in todays terms thousands of pounds.
For the daughter of a rich family this would have been the ultimate wedding shawl. Pashmina blankets were also vital additions to a wealthy women's dowry. In some countries, such as India, Pakistan and Nepal, pashminas are perceived as a status symbol. These scarves and shawls command attention wherever they are worn. Wealthy families are expected to include pashminas in a dowry, alongside jewelry and property. For many Indians, pashmina shawls are an investment like gold. They never depreciate in value.
The popularity of shawls and pashminas in Western cultures started with the East India Company. The wealthy British colonialists saw these stunning works of art and used to take some home as presents for delivery to their families. Bonaparte’s wife, the Empress Josephine, began wearing pashmina-style shoulder shawls, sealing their reputation as the height of fashion amongst the upper class who would wear scarves with elaborate patterns for significant political and religious events.
Of course, demand soon out stripped supply and so the hunt was on to be able to produce pashmina scarves in Europe. The breakthrough came with the invention of the Jacquard loom. This allowed for intricate patterns to be woven directly into the beautiful pashmina fabric by using a punch card system to control the shuttles of the numerous weft threads. This was in fact the very first binary computer operating system.
Although this type of loom was invented in France it was in the Scottish town of Paisley near Glasgow that the mass production of patterned wool shawls first took hold, and this is how the famous swirling pattern became known as Paisley. Until the invention of this complicated loom weaving could only produce patterns such as stripes, twill and houndstooth, to name but a few. Of course the Tartan scarf is one early example of a distinctive design using simple vertical and horizontal stripes.
The rest, as they say, is history. Now a pashmina scarf or wedding shawl was within the reach of thousands of aspiring women and the trend spread across the Atlantic and around the globe. Fast forward to the 1990’s and the mass popularisation of the Pashmina and it is easy to see the timeless appeal of what is a very attractive yet endlessly versatile garment.
Nowadays the word pashmina has become a generic term for a large scarf, or a stole or a shawl. To this day you can still buy extremely high quality hand embroidered and intricately woven products, but it is the plain single colour piece dyed items which have gained the most popularity. These can be used casually or for more formal events such as debutants balls, a day at the races or evening wear but as a wedding shawl they are superb. Pashminas can also be given as a bridal keepsake or a wedding favor to keep everyone warm and comfortable during the ceremony. If your bridesmaids are wearing a matching pashmina wedding shawl, then it is something they will treasure for a long time after the event.
Pashminas are light and soft and warm, so it is no burden to carry one with you. You can even easily tuck it in to a bag. Accessorise any outfit with a pashmina scarf to create an elegant look for evenings out, dinners and weddings, and for a smart casual look during the day. If you are after something lighter weight and smaller such as a silk scarf you will love our stock of Thai silk scarves in over 20 great colours.
So what is the main difference between cashmere and pashmina? Cashmere is finer, stronger, lighter, softer and approximately three times more insulating than sheep's wool. In addition, Cashmere is much more durable and resilient than lambswool, as well as being much less likely to shrink, pill or fall out of shape.
The diameter of the fibres is a key difference between generic cashmere and pashminas. The fibres in cashmere are thicker than those in pashmina products therefore pashmina fibres are more suitable for making scarves. Each pashmina hair is about 1/6th the diameter of most other types of hair - but is still surprisingly durable while being stunningly soft and comforting to human skin.
Pashmina is delicate therefore great care has to be taken when weaving products such as a soft, beautiful pashmina shawl, wrap or throw - less so than with cashmere. It really is the skill of the craftsman that determines the perfect quality of pashminas.
Pure pashmina products have an open weave as the fibre can't tolerate high tension. The most popular pashminas on the market are a mix of 70% cashmere (the crosswise “weft” thread) and 30% silk (the lengthwise “warp” thread). This allows the pashminas to be tightly woven and have an elegant sheen. The scarf then drapes nicely and feels soft and lightweight. Whether you need a wrap for a wedding, or a colourful scarf as a finishing touch for your outfit, look no further than our stylish collection of pashminas.
The way you carry a shawl defines your personality; draping a cashmere shawl around your shoulders will add a chic sense of fashion to your style. Many people favor pashmina, a type of Indian cashmere that's often blended with silk, for its exceptional softness and durability. Additionally, pashminas are really versatile and can be worn in many different ways. In colder weather, a pashmina can be draped around your shoulders. The fringed ends can be left to hang loosely at the front or one end of the scarf can be thrown over the opposite shoulder. Alternatively, the beautiful pashmina material can be tied with a simple knot or folded creatively which can lend individuality to any outfit.
Because of its unique softness and comforting warmth, pashmina is also known as the diamond fabric and the soft gold of high Asia. You can drape, wrap, and wear a pashmina shawl in many ways. The options are nearly endless! Pashmina scarves are a wonderful item to wear over a casual cocktail dress or a soft evening gown and more famously, as a wedding shawl. Alternatively, you could wrap a pashmina around your hair to keep it from getting messed up in the wind or rain while walking from class to class. An outfit like this will look great with almost any top in your closet, a pair of skinny jeans, and boots.
A silk or pashmina scarf goes well with cashmere tops and cardigans. Used between your cashmere top/cardigan and your neck, a scarf will also prevent powder or other cosmetics stains. Because of its simple rectangle shape, and wider width than a typical scarf, a pashmina works great as a lightweight throw. Or your scarf can be used to cover your legs in a cold movie theatre, just like you might use a blanket on the couch at home. With a bold pashmina worn as a scarf, the rest of your outfit doesn’t have to be fancy to make a statement!
A beautiful pashmina can easily transform an outfit. Its just a handy accessory, that is also luxurious. Pashminas are such a versatile material, far more so than silk, cotton or any other fabric. Their light weight and portability makes them a useful accessory in the most unusual of situations:
Because of the perfect workmanship on both sides, a pashmina wedding shawl is reversible and can serve a multitude of purposes. It brightens up a boring black outfit, you can wear it as a cover-up for visiting a temple and it keeps you warm on a chilly plane or bus ride. Another great option to keep your cool during the warmer weather is by wearing your brightest pashmina as a vintage-inspired headscarf. It’s such a universal item.
Pashminas, made of one of the world's warmest, lightest wools, are an extremely versatile type of scarf and as such, can be worn in a multitude of ways. Sometimes called the world's most glamorous security blanket, the pashmina is here to stay. What other cover-up feels so scrumptiously luxurious, comes in a mind-blowing array of colours, is light enough to throw on in summer and warm enough to keep out the winter chills?
Needless to say, the pashmina shawl has many admirers from all corners of the globe who wouldn't be without their lovely wraps. Here are some quotes from fashion conscious pashmina fans from around the world:
"Whether I'm enjoying a staycation at home, or going abroad, my sumptuously soft cashmere pashmina is the perfect addition for any beach holiday. It can be easily transformed from a winter staple to a glamorous beach sarong, all with a cleverly placed knot or two."
"My luxuriously soft pashmina is lavishly large, perfect to use as a blanket scarf or a shoulder wrap. With fibres lighter than lamb’s wool, it is incredibly soft to the touch - perfect for my sensitive skin."
"I love the Italian way of wearing my beautiful pashmina. I fold my shawl in half lengthways 3 times, looping it around my neck, then bringing the loose ends through the loop at the other end and pulling them through. Fabulous darling!"
"I love scarves in general - they're so adaptable. I have cashmere, silk and wool ones but my go to fabric has to be my pashmina. Its so soft to the touch. I love it!"
"It’s important to think of buying a pashmina as a long-term purchase, and something that you’ll use for a really long time. I've had mine for years now and wouldn't be without it."
"Lightweight, cosy and easy to fold. This perfect material can wrap around you for your flight or put away in your suitcase for the cooler evening walks along the beach. For scarves pashmina is a great choice."
"My pashmina is a truly gorgeous piece that any fashionista would love. The wool feels soft against your skin through the winter months - versatile, durable, and Fair-Trade too. What's not to like?"
"My pashmina wedding shawl drew gasps from the guests when I arrived at the wedding. If you want to blow someone's socks off, this is the way to do it."
"Never out of season, always in my bag - my stunning pashmina wrap offers style and elegance at a price that makes me smile."
You can also read the 5 star reviews above from satisfied York Scarves customers that have bought our products over the many years that we've been trading.
A Pashmina shawl is not an ordinary piece of clothing. One of the wonderful things about pashminas is that they can last for years and years, if you take proper care of them. Pashmina is also quite unusual in that it actually becomes softer and more comfortable with each use - making it gentler on your skin each and every time you wear it. It is not uncommon to find wraps that have been handed down with love from generation to generation in royal and wealthy families throughout the world.
When wearing your cashmere, try to avoid spraying it with perfume or other harsh chemicals such as hairspray. Piling is natural in all natural wool, including Pashmina wool - especially the older the wool gets. You may need to use a specialised pilling comb to remove these bobbles or simply pick them off by hand.
Hand washing your cashmere garments frequently will refresh and condition the fibres. However, although hand washing is the best approach for cleaning your shawl to improve longevity, many customers have reported success with dry cleaning. Some have even washed on a gentle or wool wash in their washing machine. To dry off the Pashmina, it should always be laid flat on a surface. Also, you should ensure that the shawl is not under direct sunlight.
At York Scarves, we are obsessive about the quality of our cashmere and pashmina scarves. From the raw materials to the finished product, we make sure every step ensures the highest standards. From first class raw materials to great working conditions. Each year we visit our weavers and workers in India and work with them in all the processes involved in bringing our fantastic scarves to you.
Our aim is to bring to the market a unique and diverse range of well made fair trade wholesale scarves at realistic prices and to prove that quality is not a forgotten word, and neither does it need to cost the earth. York Scarves is BAFTS registered and a recognised fair trade business. Consequently, purchasing a York scarf, whether it be pashmina or silk, supports a sustainable employment model. You’ll never feel more luxurious or better about a purchase.
Our obsessive nature with regard to quality means that we never introduce a line unless we know it is simply the best quality, meaning you can buy in confidence. Each has its own special qualities, but all are exquisite to the touch. Pashmina is a natural material that doesn’t require heavy processing to manufacture into clothing. All our shawls and scarves are only created using the finest 100% natural fibres, be it silk, cashmere or the softest lambswool, or a careful blend of these precious yarns.
All orders placed before 2pm will be dispatched by Royal Mail 1st Class Post the very same day. For most UK postcodes delivery will be the next working day. Should you have any special delivery needs please call us directly and we will arrange these for you.
Deliveries outside the UK will be sent via Royal Mails standard air mail service,
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