Wool is a natural, protein fiber. It is an excellent insulator and has several qualities that distinguish it from hair or fur: it is crimped, it is elastic and it grows in staples (clusters).
Quality of wool is determined by fiber diameter, crimp, yield, color and staple strength.
Australia is the leading producer of wool which is mostly from merino sheep. New Zealand is the second-largest producer of wool, and the largest producer of crossbred wool. China is the third-largest producer of wool and India is world famous for its Pashmina shawls.
Pashmina is derived from a Persian word “Pashm”. The wool derives from the Capra Hircus mountain goat from the Ladakh region of Kashmir. This is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude of the Himalayas between 12,000ft-17,000ft, and as such grow fleeces of very fine fibers which are exceptionally light and warm. This wool is fleeced from the animals in summer and is totally renewable as the goats produce the fibers with the onset of winter. Pashmina shawls are hand spun and hand woven on traditional hand-looms.
The Pashmina shawls made in Kashmir find written mention in Afghan texts between 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD. However, the founder of the Pashmina wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century Mughal ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia using a loom and techniques that are still in operation today.
The Pashmina artisans are predominantly mountain farmers who take up this art as a part time activity, handed down from father to son, from one generation to another. These artisans live within a natural environment in the Himalayas of Kashmir, and the weaving and embroidery performed is an art only mastered by these artisans.
Keep a look out for our limited edition Pashmina collection for men…coming soon!