Tradition Encased in Warmth Shawls


Indian Shawls

Indian Shawls (Source: accenttraining)

Shawl which is popularly known as ‘shal’ as per the Persian dialect and ‘sati’ as per the Sanskrit dialect, is referred to a type of garment that is known for the essence of simplicity it spreads out. This unique piece of garment generally comes in a rectangular form of structure or even in squares, which possess the ability to fold up and shape into millions of forms suitable to the garment which it adorns.


Origin and History

The 17th century marked the emergence of this unique clothing in the league of fame, recognition and popularity. Shawls became a wearer’s treat especially to the higher classes of the French and the English society. However in the 16th century, intricately woven body wraps with colorful motifs and delicate designs were witnessed and patronized during the Mughal era. Nature inspired designs like trees, flowers, leaves and many more of such floral sketches were imprinted on these fabrics which etched nature at its scenic best. Kashmir also had its contribution in the nurturing process of this fabric. Hence that period also paved way for Kashmir shawls to come into existence.



Shawl (source: bellydancethings)

There are innumerable ways in which this magical piece of clothing can accentuate the beauty of the wearer. Shawls have the ability to mold itself either over the upper arms of the body or over the shoulders and can even slide itself over the head. But today, there are different ways and styles which can be implemented onto these shawls. For instance, they can act as a hood, wherein it wraps around the head and then the ends go in a crisscross manner over the shoulders. The other is to simply wrap up the shoulders completely using a shawl pin or a clip either to lock it or else leave it hanging. There is also an Ascot style of draping a shawl which well loved and preferred majorly by the celebrities sporting it. In this style the shawl is looped in half, goes around the neck area, then the ends of the shawl slip through the loops which can then be fastened. Cashmere, pashmina, or even silk shawls can complement the wearer through the Ascot style of wrap.

Influences over the years

If historical evidence was to be believed then this magical clothing mesmerized the entire world way back from the 16th century. However shawls went through a lot of influences in these gliding years, which enhanced the outlook of this fabric. After being noticed, loved and preferred by the elite French and English strata of the society, the year 1803 imprinted the needle work production of Kashmir began to latch onto the faster tracks of speed which zoomed up the productivity of these shawls. Followed by which, France and English replicated this magical fabric in the year 1784. However the year 1870 added a spoke to the growth wheel with the emergence of Jacquard loom. But Paisley, Scotland took over the reins of production of the shawls and even christened this fabric as ‘Paisley’ which became a roaring hit all over Europe.


Kashmiri Shawls

Kashmiri Shawls

With each passing year, these shawls managed to capture the hearts and minds of millions across the globe. More and more layers of creativity and innovation were meted out to this fabric, which floored every generation passing by. Shawls became categorized, wherein more varieties hit the shawl markets based on various purposes. Shawls were distinguished on the basis of materials, occasions, colors, seasons and patterns. Shawls became more delicate and soft as well as different colors and of different shades added to the beauty of the shawls, making it more grandeur.

Occasion Dressing Suitability

Be it weddings, parties, religious rituals, or any other social gathering, shawls are always a welcome trend which suits each and every occasion and blends equally with the environment.

Global Influence

Crediting to the comfort, convenience, flexibility and the user friendly properties it offers, Shawl clothing is universally accepted and embraced by all across the world. Be it any season of the year, this clothing is something that will always find its way into the wardrobes for good.


Chronicles of the future Foretold

Shawls not only crank up the fashion quotient but also provide a great business scope for the shawl manufacturers in the international markets. Pashmina shawls, in particular have a great profitable future in store as they feature among the topmost quality of shawls preferred by every garment market.

Interesting facts and Comparisons

  • Jacquard loom always stood as a competitor to shawls. However, the comfort and convenience factor of shawls makes it a winner. 
  • Late Bollywood film actor, Rajesh Khanna has sported a shawl in majority of his movies.


Categories:   Attires, Clothing Styles & Drapes