Srinagar: You must have heard of the famous Kashmir Valley Pashmina Shawls, but have you ever heard of Pashmina Beanies?
As a first step, two young people from ‘Shahr-e-Khaas’ introduced a fusion of Pashmina and Sozni caps to the markets. These avant-garde caps are entirely handmade and have received a warm welcome from buyers.
The caps were introduced by Mohsin Fayaz and Owais Bhat to the markets and Sozni work was done by experienced craftsman Abdul Ahad.
Mohsin, who did an MBA, said they first had the caps made for themselves and their loved ones and then decided to make it a business.
Now men can make a pashmina fashion statement too
âPashmina shawls are mostly a trend among women, but we decided to make pashmina caps for men. In 2018 we had this idea and as a first step we made the caps for ourselves, our loved ones and our acquaintances. When we got a good response we made it into a business in 2019. We thought it was safe to make these Pashmina-Sozni caps as they weren’t available in the markets and no one had done that before. Mohsin told the Kashmir Monitor. .
Sozni’s work is carried out by Abdul Ahad, who has been in the business for about four decades now.
âHe (Abdul Ahad) has 40 years of experience in Sozni’s work. These caps are made of hand-woven pashmina fabric, and then we also do sozni handwork, âsaid Mohsin, from Narwara in the old town.
What is Sozni?
Sozni, also known as Sozankar, is a type of Kashmiri embroidery that uses fine needles and silk threads to adorn delicate pieces of pashmina. Thousands of delicate stitches are used to weave abstract geometric patterns and patterns of cashmere, flowers and formalized reproductions of nature onto a shawl panel. A single piece of sozni cap undergoes various stages such as weaving, dyeing, printing of patterns on the pashmina; the process typically takes one to two weeks of dedicated work depending on the complexity of the design. A single cap costs between Rs. 3000 and Rs. 10,000.
Sozni caps on the Srinagar Crafts Safari route
Incidentally, craftsman Abdul Ahad can be seen doing sozni work on Pashmina hats in Narwara in the old town during the âSrinagar Crafts Safariâ which was recently started by the Handicrafts Department. The safari began following Srinagar’s arrival on the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the Crafts and Folk Art category for the year 2021.
Kashmir Handicrafts and Loom Director Mahmood Ahmad Shah said they have launched the Srinagar Craft Safari as part of efforts to boost the handicrafts sector.
âWe started the Srinagar Craft Safari in different parts of Srinagar old town so that people can experience the rich handicrafts. Through the safari, people will also meet the artisans and see how different handicrafts are made, âShah told the Kashmir Monitor.
Srinagar sixth Indian city on the UNESCO list
This year, Srinagar’s candidacy was forwarded to UNESCO on June 29 by the Government of India (GoI) and this candidacy is now the worldwide recognition of Srinagar’s rich artisan heritage. Relevantly, the nomination dossier of Srinagar as a Creative City was first filed by Srinagar in 2019. However, only two cities – Hyderabad for gastronomy and Mumbai for cinema were chosen that year. Prior to 2019, only three Indian cities had been recognized as members of Creative Cities: Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Art) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative City of Music) in 2015 and Chennai (Creative City of Music) in 2017.