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A Guide To Styling Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Updated: Feb 3

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Kashmiri shawls for men are fine wool luxury garments whose origins are generally traced back to the 15th century and the rule of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin — a great patron of the arts and crafts.

A Kashmiri shawl is a type of woven or embroidered woollen garment made in the Indian region of Kashmir. It is typically made of pashmina wool, which is sourced from the high-altitude regions of the Himalayas. Kashmiri shawls are known for their fine quality, intricate designs, and exquisite embroidery, which have made them highly valued luxury items across the world.

The term "shawl" is a Persian word meaning a piece of cloth that is wrapped around the body. A Kashmiri shawl is typically rectangular in shape and can be worn in a variety of ways to provide warmth and elegance to the wearer.


In the centuries that followed, Kashmiri shawls would emerge as a status symbol not just throughout the Mughal Empire in India, but also worldwide, especially in Europe, where it was sought after and imitated.


The global impact of the Kashmiri shawl for men goes beyond the garment itself. The English-language words “cashmere” and “shawl” and even the ubiquitous paisley pattern all originate from the name or designs of the Kashmiri shawl. So while a paisley cashmere shawl purchased online or at a department store may not technically be a Kashmiri shawl, it in multiple ways bears the imprint of the Kashmiri shawl’s phenomenal global legacy.


The History Of Kashmiri Shawls

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Weaving craftsmanship existed in Kashmir long before the era of Zain-ul-Abidin. But he helped transform it into a world-class industry by recruiting master craftsmen from Persia, as well as Bukhara, Samarkand, and other regions of Turkestan (which includes present-day Uzbekistan and Xinjiang).


The Zain-ul-Abidin period also saw innovations in production, including the use of the interlocking twill tapestry technique and new loom technology. The industry became a global phenomenon after Kashmir fell under the control of the Mughals in late the 16th century, with the number of state-owned looms ballooning to 40,000 looms. The Kashmiri shawl became a part of the royal apparel, writes scholar Farzana Ashfaque.

The Kashmiri shawl has evolved over the centuries amid transformations in regional politics and the global economy. Kashmir has seen different rulers since its eponymous shawl’s invention — the Mughals, the Sikhs, and the Afghans, to name a few. And each of these empires has left its own mark on the industry.


The Kashmiri shawl has been a living, fluid concept. But in its purest form, it retains some distinctive characteristics.


In the last few decades, there has been a special interest triggered across classes in the antique Kashmiri shawls. These are considered a symbol of royalty & have shaken research scholars and art collectors in India as well as abroad. The Italian traveler Pietro Della Valle, in 1623, drew a comparison. The shal was worn as a girdle in Persia, while it was generally carried across the shoulders in India.

 But there are archaeological findings & literary pieces of evidence that point towards its presence right from the Indus Valley Civilization.

Antinoe was near the important metropolis of Alexandria, and Palmyra in Syria was a significant Roman outpost on the Silk Road. It was discovered that Indian wool was used to make all of these pieces. Extensive study revealed that they were made from a particular kind of four-ended twill. The renowned Kashmiri shawls were made with the same.


The weaving of Cashmere to produce fine Kashmiri Pashmina shawl dates back to 3000 BC in Kashmir. Back then, it was just the affluent population that could afford and hence wear Pashmina shawls. The royal courts, hence, enjoyed the luxury of this coveted fabric in their courts. But it was only after the patronage of Empress Josephine that made Kashmiri shawls the most sought-after accessory in Europe.


The principal aspects of the shawl are its distinctive Kashmiri weaving technique and fine wool.However, the Kashmir shawl's definition has varied in time and place, depending on various factors such as the material used and its cost, the method of construction, the intended use, and the status of the wearer. Today, shahtoosh shawls are no longer made because of a ban on the trade of products made from the Tibetan antelope.

The Origin

The Kashmiri Pashmina shawl is regarded as the world's best handicraft, transforming the extremely delicate cashmere threads into royal accessories. The fleece of the Changthangi Goat, the world's most unique cashmere goat, is known in Urdu as Pashm. It can only be found at a height of 14,000 feet above sea level in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, making Pashmina even more rare and coveted around the world. to refine and transform it into a fabric, employing centuries-old processes passed down from generation to generation.


The wool industry in Kashmir is supposed to have been founded by Zayn-ul-Abidin, the monarch of Kashmir in the 15th century. The origins of Pashmina shawls, however, may be traced back to the 3rd century BC. For ages, the Pashmina has been an important part of traditional clothing. It was exclusively worn by kings and queens in the past and hence became the symbol of royalty.

The raw material of the Kashmir shawl, known in the West as "cashmere," is called pashm in India, and the fabric woven from it pashmina. It is the warm soft undercoat grown by goats herded on the high-altitude plateaus of Tibet and Ladakh as protection against the bitter winter cold.

Combed out by their herders at the onset of summer, for centuries the entire clip was sent down in a series of complex trading operations to Kashmir, the only place whose craftspeople had developed the skills necessary to process it. In the 1820s it was estimated that between 121,000–242,000 pounds (55,000–110,000 kilograms) a year reached Srinagar, to be made up into some 80,000 to 100,000 shawl pieces.

The very finest shawls were woven from toosh, a similar but even finer material produced by the Tibetan antelope or chiru, an undomesticated species. Although the precious wool has always been procured by slaughtering the chiru, the amount consumed was negligible, probably less than 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) a year, insufficient to make a dent in a population estimated in the millions.

By the early twenty-first century, however, the situation had changed; wholesale slaughter in the late twentieth century brought the chiru population down to a few thousand. It is recognized as an endangered species, and trade in its products is banned


Kashmir shawls are traditionally made either of shahtoosh or pashmina. Shahtoosh wool comes from the fine hairs on the underbelly of the Tibetan antelope.Cashmere derives its name from the home of the Kashmir shawl, and is often incorrectly equated with pashmina. Pashmina and cashmere both come from the Changthangi goat, but pashmina is made from a fine subset of cashmere ranging from 12–16 microns,whereas generic cashmere ranges from 12–21 microns.

Shahtoosh shawls are made from the hair of the Tibetan antelope which averaging 7–10 microns in diameter, is the finest hair in the world.These derived only from wild animals, grown during the harsh winters and rubbed off on rocks and shrubs in the summer, from where they were collected for weaving.

As the fineness of a shawl in India was traditionally seen as a mark of nobility,they were historically reserved for members of the Mughal aristocracy. In the mid-eighteenth century, they became popular after their use by Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Empress Joséphine of France.

In Mughal times, they became known as "ring shawls", for being extremely light, and fine enough that a one metre by two-metre shawl could be pulled whole through a finger ring.They remain known this way today.They today serve as status symbol, valued on average between USD $2,000 and $3,000, but for up to $15,000. Today, the export of shahtoosh shawls is banned under CITESand their production and sale banned under wildlife protection laws in India, China and Nepal.Domestic laws in the US prevent their sale.



How To Wear A Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

1.Drape over shoulder

This rare style involves wrapping the Kashmiri shawl around your hole shoulder and allowing it to hang loosely for an timeless and elegant look. You can secure and can let it flow freely with a pin or broach for added flair determining the Shawl intricate design, while offering sophistication and warmth.


2. Belted style

The belt creates a more contemporary and fitted appearance clinching the Shawl at the waist, this helps to accentuates your figure but also of modern elegance and adds a touch to your outfit making it for various occasions.


3. One shoulder drape

Draping the Shawl diagonally your body assumed an asymmetrical and stylish look allowing one end of the shoulder added a chic and a unique element to your assemble, this intricate the pattern of embroidery.


4. Headscarf or turban

This shawl as a headscarf or a turban that gives a bohemian flair to your look, this look gives the creative style not only for showcases but also serves as a versatile and fashionable accessory. Adding to your outfit a different character.


5. Pleated or folded

The Shawl folding or pleating around your neck as a scarf adds statement and also warmth and texture to your attire. The Shawl intricate method allows you to highlight patterns while adding a touch to your outfit's sophistication and gives a pleated and folded look.


6. Layering

The layering of the Shaw not only adds over a coat or jacket but also elevates your outwear warmth. It can bring a refinement and elegance to your ensemble suitable for making it especially during cold weather and occasions.


7. Traditional draping

This involves intricate fold exploring traditional kashmiri draping style and these include folds, twists and tucks. The Shawl that showcase craft man ship these reserved for special occasions these methods are often and allowing the wearer the Shawl cultural display and significance or historical artistry.


8. Shoulder wrap with a twist

Rather create an elegant than draping it conventionally the Shawl diagonally twist by across your back to the front bringing both cross them over each other and throw back to the opposite shoulder, this showcase the method that intricate the design while adding a unique twist to your look.


9. Cape style

Secure the Shawl at the front or side with a broach or pin, transform your Shawl into cape by gathering it in the middle and draping it over your shoulder creating a sophisticated and effortless cape- like silhouette that adds warmth and style to your outfit.


10. Braided and knotted

This style of the Kashmiri shawl experiments with branding or knotting techniques; you can braid or knot the ends of the Shawl. To create intricate patterns and fashions forward giving a contemporary to your overall appearance. This technique not only had visual interest but also creativity in showcase and wearing the Shawl.

Kani Shawl Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

The standard design of Kashmir shawl is the Kani shawl, named after the Kanihama village where it was originally produced. It is distinctive for using a variant of the "twill tapestry technique" referred to as such because of its similarity to European tapestry weaving techniques. However, it differs from tapestry weaving because the loom is horizontal instead of vertical, and its operation is closer to brocading.

Kashmiri weavers used a distinctive technique, passing a weft over-and-under two warps. Using discontinuous wefts, it varied the weft colour and created distinct colour areas identical on both faces of the fabric. This also facilitated the creation of complex patterns like the buta to be woven onto the shawls

Top 3 Specialities Of Kashmiri Shawl

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

1.Pashmina Wool: Kashmiri shawls are renowned for being crafted from fine Pashmina wool, sourced from the underbelly of Himalayan goats, known for their warmth, softness, and luxurious feel.


2.Handmade Craftsmanship: These shawls are traditionally handwoven or hand-embroidered by skilled artisans in the Kashmir region, showcasing intricate designs and patterns.


3.Distinctive Designs: Kashmiri shawls often feature unique patterns like paisleys, floral motifs, chinar leaves, and intricate woven or embroidered details, representing Kashmiri heritage and culture.

If you want to explore more surprising things about kashmiri shawls for men you can read

How did Kashmiri Shawl look back then?

Kashmiri Shawl For Men

From the 17th century to the 18th century, the body of shawls was kept plain. There would be slight vertical borders that would run along the length of the shawl but as time passed, designs filled the entire bodies of Kashmiri shawls and made them more extravagant. Hence came Jamawar shawls, which featured embroidery motifs all over the base and many more variants. Kani shawl was one of the biggest feats that Pashmina achieved. Kani shawls were the ones that caused a furore in the European markets after Empress Jopsehine set these to a timeless fashion.

Difference Between Kashmiri Shawls And Pashmina Shawl

Kashmiri Shawl

Kashmiri Shawl

The Kashmir shawl, the predecessor of the contemporary cashmere shawl, is a type of shawl identified by its distinctive Kashmiri weave and for being made of fine shahtoosh or pashmina wool. Contemporary variants include the pashmina and shahtoosh shawls (often mononymously referred to simply as the pashmina and shahtoosh).

In the late 20th century, they evolved to middle-class popularity through generic cashmere products, and raffal, shawls woven in the Kashmiri style, but using thicker Merino wool. Originally designed as a covering for men in India, it has evolved in the popular cultures of India, Europe, and the United States as indicators of nobility and rank, heirlooms giving on a girl's coming-of-age and marriage, and subsequently, as artistic elements in interior design.

The making of these shawls has given employment to a lot of people. The pashmina fibres are manually sorted and cleaned before the weaving process. The undercoat of these goats has dandruff and other impurities which are cleaned first. Then the fibres are sent for weaving.

The quality of all types of kashmiri shawls is amazing and the wool used is very soft and fine. Most of the international brands use these Indian shawls for sale as they are made using one of the finest and superior quality wool in the international market.



Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Pashmina wool is incredibly soft, making it feel luxurious and silky against the skin. The fine diameter of the wool fibres are responsible for its softness, which can be as small as 12-15.5 microns. Warmth: Pashmina wool is incredibly warm, making it ideal for colder temperatures

That means Pashmina shawl is made from the hair of goats. Wool is also employed by Angora rabbit and merino sheep. Yak wool is common in Tibet and Ladakh. Mohair is obtained from angora goats, found in hilly regions such as Jammu and Kashmir.

Pashmina is the craft and Silk is the fabric. It is the crafting of the finest Cashmere wool. On the other hand, Silk is the fabric obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm. Cashmere, the wool for Pashmina Art is the finest and silk is delicate.


How Can I Identify An Authentic Kashmiri Shawls?  

 Kashmiri Shawl For Men

Authentic Kashmiri shawls often have distinct features that help identify their genuineness:


  • Material: pashmina is a popular choice and is known for its softness and warmth and these authentic shawls are traditionally made from high quality materials like pashmina wool, cashmere wool or shahtoosh

  • Craftsmanship: look for intricate embroidery or weaving. Kashmiri shawls are often handcrafted using methods like weaving, embroidery (such as Sozni or Jamawar), or needlework like Aari or Tilla.

  • Feel and Texture: gently touch and feel the Shawl due to High quality material used in theses authentic kashmiri shawls are soft light weight and often have a luxurious texture.

  • Design and Patterns: Traditional Kashmiri shawls have unique and elaborate designs reflecting the region's culture and heritage. Paisley patterns, floral motifs, or intricate geometric designs are common.

  • Edges and Fringes: usually kashmiri shawl are pay attention to the finishing to have neatly finished edeges or frings that showcase the craftsmanship

  • Source and Seller: Purchase from reputable sources or authorised dealers who specialise in authentic Kashmiri products to ensure the shawl's authenticity.

  • Price: The kashmiri shawl is usually priced due to the high quality craftsmanship and materials used. It seems too be a good price for supposed authentic pieces, it might not be genius.


If possible, consult experts or experienced individuals in Kashmiri craftsmanship to help authenticate the shawl before making a purchase.


Kashmir shawls are woven partly or wholly from goat hair called pashm. In the 19th century, shawls were classified as pashm shāla (made from the hair of domesticated goats) and aslī tūsh (made from the hair of wild goats). By this time, kashmir shawls had also become fashionable in Europe. The quality of all types of kashmiri shawls is amazing and the wool used is very soft and fine. Most of the international brands use these Indian shawls for sale as they are made using one of the finest and superior quality wool in the international market.

Written by: Sounabha Ghosh

Edited by: Aniket Joshi

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