Hand-spun textiles have their own charm. And it takes the master weavers to bring legendary designs to life. So if you are a lover, collector or scholar on fashion and textiles, then Shawls for winter is what you need to put your mind on this winter.
What is Shawls meaning? It is a piece of fabric worn by women over the shoulders (sometimes placed on one shoulder) or head, at times wrapped around the baby. But why? Quite understandably, to protect oneself or the baby from the winter chill. Winter protection aside, shawls add a unique designer value to the overall dressing. When worn on a saree, palazzo or anarkali suit, shawls have their way of appealing and impressing.
History Of Shawls:
The word ‘Shawl worn by females comes from the Indian shal (which is a male garment with unstructured length and either woven or embroidered pattern). Europeans in India that wore the first shawl were mostly men. Hence, good quality shawls were seen as prized possessions and were used as gifts associated with weddings and baptism.
Shawls As Exports:
India has been a major hub for textile export since 5,000 years. One of the major Indian export in the world of textiles has been woollen shawls. The diversity and variation make Shawls for women the perfect fashion accessory. Let us now see the types of shawls for every discerning taste and need.
Fascinating Shawls A Winter Must:
Here are some of the popular Shawls for winter season that hail from different regions of the country:
1. Pashmina Shawls:
They are found in Kashmir, and so an integral part of the beautiful northernmost state of India. Pashmina shawls are made from the fleece of the local Cashmere goat. It goes without saying that a pashmina shawl stands out for its unique properties of softness and warmth, color spectacle and breath-taking motifs.
A pashmina is made through the traditional means which are no less praiseworthy. The delicately woven floral patterns seamlessly integrate with the whole cloth. That is why, a Pashmina shawl has reserved a place for itself on the global map, and not just India.
2. Dorukha Shawls:
As the name goes, this Kashmiri shawl is two-sided’. This means it can be worn with any of the side facing up meaning it is reversible. Dorukha Shawls have been there since the 1860s. Do you know, a Dorukha shawl made out of Shahtoosh can cost anywhere between $3000 to $7000?
3. Kullu Shawls:
This is a native to Himachal Pradesh. What makes a Kullu shawl stand out is its unique patterned structure. Slit tapestry technique and coarser design is the hallmark of Kullu Shawls for women. The raw material comes from the fleece of local goats such as Angora, Deshkar, Bihang etc. The motifs on Kullu shawls are colourful and theme-based such as religion, traditions or depicting the philosophies of life.
4. Naga Shawls:
As goes the name, this shawl comes from Nagaland. Exotic designs depict the traditional ritual Naga shawl. The motifs convey the folk stories of the state. Naga shawls are made from wool with red, black and blue colours with the characteristic supplementary-weft pattern. Backstrap looms are deployed in the making process. You can make out the Naga shawl through its geometric shapes and patterns that are laid out on a ground of plain weave making it a quality exclusive of the Naga shawls.
5. Kalamkari Shawls:
Andhra Pradesh calling! Yes, Kalamkari shawls hail from Andhra. And they are not woollen shawls but cotton-based with hand-printed or block-printed designs. Religious themes decorated with rich, natural colours are what make these Shawls for women stand out.
6. Dhabla Shawls:
This is a woollen blanket worn in the semi-desert region of Kutch by people from the Rabari and Bharwad community. These simpler shawls in black or white are made form sheep wool and ornamented with extra weft motifs. The textured surface comes in a variety of colors several times along the borders to keep the middle part of the shawl relatively plain.
7. Rabari Shawls:
This Shawls for women is once again from Gujarat. Made of fine hand-spun cotton, Rabari shawls are about beautiful embroidery work done with silk. Mirrors are used liberally along with embroidery. So is the needle work used for chain stitching. As for the colors, there is complete diversity in the options red, black, white, blue and golden yellow.
There are several occasions to wear a shawl. It can be for a winter wedding (which explains Shawls for winter season), party, social gathering, dinner with family and/or friends, birthday, celebration, even a bridal shower. Wrap it around your body to overcome the dipping temperature or place it on your shoulder to get a stylish look.
Looking After Shawls:
Delicate, vintage and a treasure for keeps, a shawl stays with you provided you look after it well, year after year. There are no ifs and buts here. So how to make your expensive and designer shawls stay in your wardrobe for a long time? Here are some tips:
- No washing with detergent or soap. Always dry-clean your shawl as they are too fine to take and tolerate any rubbing or wringing.
- Heard of a muslin cloth? Put your precious shawl in it before keeping it in your wardrobe. Avoid wrapping your shawl in a plastic cover as it can damage the shawl due to the development of lint.
- While storing shawls, stay away from using naphthalene balls.
- Dont let your shawl encounter moisture. If it happens, go to the drycleaner to help you find the best workable solution.
- Avoid exposing a Pashmina shawl to direct heat. Whenever you are to iron a Pashmina, cover it with a protective cloth and then iron the shawl at low temp.
- The ideal way to ensure a Pashmina or Jamawar stays with you for years is to let it go through professional restoration once in few years.
So how did you find this article on Shawls for winter? Warmed the cockles of your heart? Hope you have got an idea of the type of shawls and how to preserve them for long life. Tell us if you have any more inputs to share.