Benjamuna's Blog

Stories…. with a touch of India….

Indian textiles May 2, 2012

Filed under: INDIA — benjamuna @ 5:18 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Why is India a shopper’s paradise…. Among other things; the irrisistable beautiful, colourful textiles….

In the book I’m reading right now; Planet India by Mira Kamdar, she writes about retailing in India. And tells the story behind FabIndia. Every time I go to Mumbai, I visit FabIndia in Kala Ghoda: A symphony of colours spread over three floors and a quiet cafe – with exellent coffee – as well. They sell clothes, all kinds of textiles and other stuff for your home, organic food, organic personal care… FabIndia was in fact founded by John Bissell, an American who came to India in 1985. He fell in love…, with both a woman and Indian handicrafts.  Qute understandable! FabIndia is now run by his son William.

A big, beautiful woolen shawl from FabIndia.

I have many Indian shawls… The word shawl is in fact the Persian word for “a piece of wollen clothing that you wrap around yourself. ” The first I bought, and also one of mye dearest, I picked up in Cochin, state of Kerala. Black wool with golden embroidery. It’s always diffiult to chose among “a million” beautiful samples; the patterns, colour combinations – it’s endless and overwhelming.After many visits to India, I have now chosen quality before quantity. Shopping from the street markets is cheap, the haggeling is fun and the exciting feeling of getting something really, really cheap is always there…. But once you step indoors, especially in Colaba, prices leap upwards and so should quality. For the most part I believe I’m paying the right price even when I feel it’s a bit over the top, but you never know….

“Madam, real pashmina madam….” How often don’t you hear these words when you’re around & about in India. I have give up “real pashmina”, I don’t think I have one – I always avoid pashminas because I think you need to be a “conoisseur” to be able to tell right form wrong. Better then to buy a real cheap one because you really liked the pattern. It’s the same as buying silk; in Vietnam and Thailand you are always offered “pure silk” – but then the trick is always to carry a lighter. If the treads melt, it’s synthetic. If they just disappear, like hair, it’s the real thing. Or is it….? Well I have been cheated, and I’m not the only one. So when I’m affered “real pashmina” I’m at a loss…

Some years ago I discovered Maspar just behind the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba. Quite a big store for home furnishing: colours…. quality…. I wanted to revisit in 2010, but alas, the shop was gone. It wasn’t until last year, when I sat in the car from the airport to Colaba that I spotted Maspar under the bridge at Kemp’s Corner. So I went back a few days later, just to disover that the shop had shrinked considerably. The shop assistant told me that after the terror attack against Taj Mahal Palace had made safety precautions in the area extensive – and thus clients had vanished.My best shopping tip? go and have fun………..and buy something for your mother and sister as well!

 

3 Responses to “Indian textiles”

  1. Zubin Says:

    Try Bombay Stores on D N Road near Fountain next time. They have real “real pashmina” shawls… or so I believe 🙂

  2. yachana Says:

    Hi dear, just read your blog…if your want real pashmina that too with kashmiri hand embroidery, please whatsapp me at +91-7500312922….I shall send you the designs and assure you the quality of the product. When I say real pashmina I don’t say its cheap because it is not! If it is real then it is not cheap, pashmina is all about luxury, comfort and style. Pashmina wool comes from changthangi or Pashmina goat, which is a special breed of goat indigenous to high altitudes of the Himalayas in India. Pashmina shawls are hand spun, woven and embroidered in Nepal and Kashmir, and made from fine cashmere fibre. That’s why they say that when you burn it, it smells like hair and it vanishes! You may please check our product the same way, may take a strand of the fabric and burn it..you shall find that it’s original…I assure you!

    I do not do mass marketing but I do personal marketing, so request you give our product a chance..you may also share your requirements with us and accordingly we shall cater to the same!

    Please whatsapp!

    Regards…Yachana 🙂


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