Handmade Pashmina vs. Machine-made Pashmina: Unraveling the Difference Skip to content


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Article: Handmade Pashmina vs. Machine-made Pashmina: Unraveling the Differences

Handmade Pashmina vs. Machine-made Pashmina: Unraveling the Differences
pashmina shawl

Handmade Pashmina vs. Machine-made Pashmina: Unraveling the Differences

Handmade Pashmina vs. Machine-made Pashmina: Unraveling the Differences

As long as we can remember, Pashmins shawls have been a symbol of elegance, luxury and the finer things in life. They have attained heirloom status in Indian families, where generations take the pashmina shawl with them. But the reason behind their indelible mark on our culture is the craftsmanship involved in making them. Their craftsmanship defines their quality as well. In the realm of pashmina, there is a huge difference between a handmade and machine-made pashmina shawl and all the other factors like price, life and quality of the shawl are based on this. Let us dissect and understand the difference in detail.

Handmade Pashmina Shawl

Handmade pashmina shawls are so widely appreciated because of the level of skill that goes into making them. Skilled artisans who have mastered the art of handicraft, weaving and embroidery work for weeks, months and even years on one shawl to bring it to life. Earlier, pashmina was the only major source of income for the artisans who relied on them for extra income, except whatever little they made from agriculture. Every Pashmina has a unique texture because the traditional hand-spinning method gives distinct textures to every piece. Handmade pashmina shawls have a lesser variety in sizes as they are made according to the size of the handloom. Full of intricate detail, handmade pashmina shawls are the epitome of handicraft.

Machine-Made Pashmina Shawls

While the original pashmina was only handmade, fast fashion has made artisans succumb to its pressure in order to sustain themselves amidst the dynamic trends that come and go. Machine-made pashmina shawls are created using power looms instead of handlooms, which create a shawl at a very slow pace. They are mostly mixed with synthetic fibres like nylon and silk, as cashmere is very delicate to weave for the machines. Mass production and efficiency are the two defining factors in making pashminas using machines. While these shawls are more affordable and still light and soft, they lack the artisans’ touch and unique craftsmanship found in the handmade pashmina shawls. The machine-made shawl has a uniform texture because it is made using a standard process. Hence, they lack the nuances that their handmade counterparts have.

Handmade vs Machine-Made: Aesthetic Differences


The beauty of a handmade pashmina shawl lies in the irregular, unique texture it gets from the hand-spun yarn. Any handmade product has a texture that is not regular or constant because of the detailing done by hand. This irregularity adds to the charm and authenticity of each piece. However, machine-made pieces have a constant texture that is uniform in all the pieces as they are made using a set pattern and process constructed via the machine. This gives uniformity but takes away the charm of a hand-woven shashawl, which has intricate details. The handmade pashmina shawls get their light weight and finesse from cashmere wool. When nylon or silk is mixed with cashmere, the texture and fifinesse arelso lacks in a machine-made product.


Worked on by skilled artisans who have years of experience, embroidery on handmade shawls is intricate and contains many variations where artisans show their versatility and expertise on a piece of fabric. Machine-made shawls have embroidery that is done using machines and is very artificial to look at. The quality and richness of the embroidery work are missing. They have a more standardised, constant and less detailed appearance.

Warmth and Comfort:

Handmade pashmina shawls have pure cashmere wool, which is associated with warmth and softness. Hence, when the amount of cashmere wool is reduced in a machine-made piece by using synthetic fibres, the warmth is bound to decrease. The handmade shawl retains body heat because of how intricately the cashmere wool is woven. In the extremely cold valleys of Kashmir, pashmina was a major source of warmth. Keeping that in mind, handmade pashmina shawls fulfil the purpose of owning a pashmina.

Authenticity and Value:

Handmade pashmina shawls can be easily identified by the level of craftsmanship, delicate work and detailing they contain. Their authenticity is the hallmark of their rich history of tradition. The value of a handmade pashmina shawl is not just in terms of money but also in the rich culture it stands for. They have a timelessness to them. A pure pashmina shawl can supposedly last up to 30 years of usage without any damage. That makes them worth the money one invests in a pashmina shawl. Machine-made shawls are more accessible, but they do not have the same tradition and cultural value attached to them, which takes away their emotional and monetary value. They wither with time sooner than handmade shawls, which forfeit the whole purpose of owning one for generations. While handmade pieces encapsulate the rich artistic tradition of a region, machine-made pieces stand as a commercial replica of the same.


In this widely discussed debate of handmade versus machine-made products, the ultimate decisive factor lies with the person who plans to buy a pashmina shawl. They have to consider various factors before coming to a decision. On one hand, handmade pashmina shawls represent a form of art that is more than two centuries old, taking the cost of a pure pashmina shawl to a higher end. They are offering a piece of wearable art that goes beyond just the factor of wearability and goes on to provide an emotional and sensory experience. Machine-made options are also available for people who cannot afford authentic pashmina shawls but want to feel the warmth of one. Also, machine-made shawls are readily available, which makes them more accessible for a larger section of people. They might agree to sacrifice their unique artistic touch and cultural richness for their functionality and elegance.

Both of these types of pashminas stand as timeless accessories wanted by many. The handmade shawls stand superior in terms of the heritage attached to their stories, whereas machine-made shawls reach areas where authentic pashmina could never reach, making them an obvious choice amidst the fast-paced world.

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