Our story unfolds over 600 years ago in the highlands of a snow clad Kashmir. A Persian Sufi poet on a visit to Kashmir comes across Ladakhi goats that produced a soft wool. He weaves a pair of socks from the wool and foresees the potential to start a shawl weaving industry in Kashmir using this wool. The cashmere shawl is born. The shawl industry thrives in the 18 & 19 centuries in Kashmir (known at that time as Cashmere by the British). The cashmere shawls are introduced into Western Europe quite by chance, as one is sent to Paris as a gift. The shawl’s arrival is said to have created an immediate stir in the fashion circles. The French draw plan to commence production on a large scale, while Italy and Scotland follow later.
But, change is inevitable everywhere. We pick-up our story back to Kashmir where the winds have picked-up the chill and swept it across the plains of Punjab. With it, it has carried the first whiff of the cashmere warmth. The women in the plains are accustomed to wrapping a thick woolen shawl around numerous times providing multiple layers to ward of the cold and the wind. The light pure cashmere shawl is about to transform the style statement of an exclusive group of wealthy farmers and landowners, in much the same way it made the world sit-up and take notice a century ago.