A shawl is a piece of fabric that is worn around the shoulders as a wrap or a scarf. The word “shawl” comes from the Persian word “shāl”, which means “a bed sheet”, given that this kind of attire was traditionally worn as bed linen. Shawls are also known as “pashmina”, “chiffon”, and “silk” depending on the fabric used in creating them. Shawls can be rectangular or square and can be draped in many different ways, such as around the shoulders, around the neck, or just simply held in the hands. In the Indian context, a shawl is a rectangular piece of fabric worn around the shoulders or torso with the ends tucked in. Indian shawls can be made from a variety of materials, such as silk, cashmere, pashmina, or cotton.
Indian shawls have been an intrinsic part of Indian culture for centuries. Rajasthan is known as the shawl capital of India, given the prevalence of such attire in that region. Over time, the traditional Indian shawl has evolved into a variety of new avatars – from vibrant and colourful traditional pashmina shawls to trendier designs with woolen hues and intarsia patterns.
History of the Indian Shawl
The history of the Indian Shawl dates back to the Mughal era when Indian royalty wore these as a mark of their status. The shawls were made from the finest silks of Bengal and were dyed with natural colours extracted from plants and flowers. These shawls were so closely woven that a single piece of fabric could cover two or three people. The Indian shawl eventually made its way to the Western world in the 19th century, when British colonialists brought back shawls as souvenirs from their colonial travels in India. Soon, the popularity of Indian shawls spread across Europe, where they became incredibly popular among wealthy women as a fashionable accessory. It was only in the late 19th century that the Indian shawl travelled back to India, becoming a mainstay of the Indian wardrobe. In the 20th century, Indian shawls became a popular fashion accessory in the West, especially with Hollywood celebrities. Film stars like Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor helped popularize the use of Indian shawls among the Western public.
Different Types of Indian Shawls
There are a variety of different types of Indian shawls, each one having a different pattern and made from different materials.
Pashmina Shawls - Pashmina Shawls are woven with the wool of the chyangora goats native to the Himalayas. The shawls are known for their soft, warm, and lightweight feel. Pashmina Shawls come in a variety of designs, from simple and elegant to vibrant and colourful.
Cashmere Shawls - Cashmere Shawls are made from the fine down of the Tibetan goats that are known for their soft, warm, and lightweight wool. The finest quality cashmere is known as the “hair of the wild goat”, given that it is incredibly soft. Cashmere Shawls can also be made from the wool of the Chinese goat or the Kashmir goat.
Silk Shawls - Silk Shawls are made from the fibres of the silkworm and are known for their rich and glossy feel. Silk Shawls come in a variety of designs and colours, ranging from the simple and elegant to the more vibrant and colourful.
Mirraw - The Best Women's Indian Designer Shawls Online Store
Women's shawls are available in a variety of styles and colours at the Mirraw Online Store to suit every taste. Our stunning selection of shawls features deft craftsmanship and calming patterns that enhance every person's silhouette. Purchase a beautiful shawl from our carefully picked collection today.