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January 13, 2012

High Tech Meets High Fashion at Pashma on Maiden Lane

**Guest blog post by Neerja Raman from Pashma on Maiden Lane.

This past fall Neerja Raman helped international purveyor of fine cashmere Pashma open its eighth store on San Francisco’s historic Maiden Lane. Pashma offers a wide variety of luxury scarves and wraps made from the finest cashmere and silk, each with a unique story inspired by textile art forms around the world. The Maiden Lane store also carries limited edition shawls crafted by expert artisans. Pashma has consistently stayed faithful to its philosophy of presenting exquisite craftsmanship, superior quality and an inherent aesthetic appeal, while constantly pushing the boundaries between fashion and wearable art. Stop by their store at 29 Maiden Lane to see their pieces for yourself, or for more info visit

Neerja’s Take on Textile Arts:

When I began my work with Pashma, helping to open up the company’s first U.S. location, my 15 year history with digital printing had not fully prepared me for a new career in high fashion. However, I soon found that the technology I had been working with was taking a new form in the world of style. A trip to Delhi awakened me to the revolution digital printing has wrought in the Fashion world. Sure, at Hewlett Packard we had promoted our inkjet printers as suitable for personal creative expression on various media including textiles at shows and tech gatherings. But the application seemed to me boutique, and I never imagined the infinite potential for unleashing the creativity of fashion designers. While attending the Wills Lifestyle Fashion Show for Pashma, I got a chance to tour the exhibition and check out designer ware. The first thing I noticed was the profusion of color, and then the complexity of designs and the fact that no two designs were alike. Gone are the bolts and bolts of fashion items made from the same polka dotted prints, checks or paisley. Using inkjet technology in digital textile printing allows for single pieces, mid-run production and even long-run alternatives to screen printed fabric.

Every designer now has the option of not just designing the cut of their garment but also customizing the print to suit the draping and design of the piece. India, with its rich heritage of color, art and creativity has transformed this technology into fabulous fashion. Printing on textile even has its own name now - DTG or direct to garment printing. "DTG, digital garment printing, is a process of printing on textiles and garments using specialized or modified inkjet technology,” according to Wikipedia. This opens up a whole world of unique designs to everyone from high-end designers to hobbyist sewers. At Pashma, we try to carry patterns that are inspired by artistic traditions all over the world from art deco to pop-art to Japanese haiku poetry and Persian kilim weaving, among many others. The technology once used to print business presentations, charts and graphs now allows us to seamlessly transfer these art forms onto our cashmeres and silks. So it turned out my background did come in handy while navigating the changing face of fashion technology.

About Neerja:

Neerja Raman is a seasoned executive in technology based new business creation. In October 2011 Ms. Raman launched US Pashma, a luxury clothing boutique on San Francisco’s historic Maiden Lane. Ms. Raman is also a visiting scholar researching business models and metrics for sustainable development at Stanford University. Prior to joining Stanford, Ms. Raman was Director, Strategic Planning and founder of the Imaging Systems Lab at Hewlett Packard Labs which delivered product ideas and advanced research for HP’s flagship printing, imaging and multi-media businesses. Ms. Raman is active in the blogosphere with Digital Provide: from Good to Gold and published the leadership book The Practice and Philosophy of Decision Making.