Cashmere Cotton And Catharsis (Part 3 of 3)
Catharsis or catharsis (Greek), is the purification and purgation of emotions through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration.
In the winter of 2015 in Jammu we came across a beautiful fabric. It seemed to be wool in its pure ivory colour of origin and draped beautifully when we held it in our hands. But something was different about this fabric. It felt like wool but it was cotton!
The next 2 years were spent on chasing this elusive fabric. Numerous meetings with government officials & weavers eventually led us the lone weaver who had woven that fabric and the journey took us to Basholi, a quaint village in the foothills of Himalayas.
You see, the village which was once a flourishing hub of pashmina weaving had lost its weavers due to social dynamics. Our weaver was the last of handful of weavers left in Basholi and due to lack of money, had to dismantle the loom to sell it off. Hence, the cotton fabric we had seen was last of its kind he had woven. Post this he had turned to selling Kullu shawls to bring money home.
It took us a year to convince him to get back to weaving. He had seen his community of weavers disappear and was pragmatic of making any choices. It was then that we decided to set up a private cluster and ensure advance payments to make the community warm up to the idea of coming back to weaving and reviving the local tradition.
It has been close to 2 years and today our weaver is accompanied by 4 men and 2 women who help him weave for us. The weavers are always paid in advance and our main man has finally made his own home and will be shifting this winter.
The fabric that is woven there is our ‘vegan alternative to wool’ that we love to call Cashmere Cotton™. It is an all season cotton based alternative to wool that is woven in a village that was once a thriving Pashmina cluster. While we are not weaving Pashmina, Cashmere Cotton is one step in revving the heritage of Basholi.
Making Cashmere Cotton™ possible has been our moment of Catharsis and the journey to find more such moment continues.
Checkout the Cashmere Cotton Collection here.