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January 4, 2013

Winter in Union Square: Cashmere History and Tips from Pashma

Are you keeping warm in cashmere this winter? The cashmere experts from Pashma want to give you some fun info and handy pointers on how to take care of your cashmere.

**Guest Blog Post by The team from Pashma on Maiden Ln.

Delicate, beautiful, luxurious cashmere is what we specialize in at Pashma, so we thought we’d share a little bit of our knowledge on this highly prized fabric with you this week. It’s a great way to keep warm and stylish during the winter months! Cashmere’s story begins in the harsh yet serene land of Ladakh in Kashmir. The Pashm goat yields the finest fiber which is gathered by combing during the molting period in the spring.

Cashmere has been made for 1000’s of years. In medieval times, European traders found a ready market for their luxury goods in India while the splendor of the Raj influenced western ideas of art, luxury and style.  Because of their fabulous wealth, the Indian princely families had the means to possess anything they fancied. With time, western brands started integrating Indian art and style into their designs.  Pashma was born with a vision to cement a place for Indian textile art forms in the global luxury sphere. Taking inspiration from the weaving traditions of India and the extraordinarily opulent lifestyle of Indian Royalty, our love affair with cashmere commenced.

All of Pashma’s products are made in our own unique workshops that are a great example of modern manufacturing technology coexisting with primitive art forms. Spinning systems from Biella sit alongside hand-looms while digital printing machines exist alongside some intricately hand-blocked wood blocks that realize some of the most exquisite lithographs. The classic Jacquard pattern has its origins in the Jamawar shawls and blankets favored by the royals of Kashmir. Pashma has recently released a limited edition all cashmere Jamawar wrap – a Jacquard weave collection where each piece is unique and hand crafted. Unbelievably soft, warm yet light, we’re excited to continue this tradition.

Unlike other fabrics, you can’t just throw cashmere in the wash – it needs special attention. You can dry clean it, but it’s better to hand wash. Here’s what to do:

1. Use gentle baby shampoo, no harsh soaps. You can even use baby conditioner to restore pH after washing.

2. Gently agitate your garment in cool or lukewarm water - do not twist or wring it out! Rinse by dipping your garment in cool soap-free water a few times.

3. Pat yur garment dry and spread flat preferably on a netted surface for even airing.

4. Make sure to be extra careful around foods – especially acidic or fatty foods. If you do happen to have a little food accident, wash your cashmere immediately using this technique. 

Pashma is a luxury brand from India that is inspired by arts and crafts from around the world. It constantly flirts with the boundaries between fashion and wearable art. We are located at 29 Maiden Ln. For more info, visit us online at www.pashma.com or call (415) 738-8806.

Post by Neerja Raman: Neerja is a retired technology executive and author who currently writes the blog “From Good to Gold” on business ventures that deliver social as well as environmental benefit. Ms. Raman is at Stanford as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar. She is co-owner of Pashma, Maiden Lane and is fascinated by new opportunities at the intersection of art, technology and sustainability.