The Kashmir Company was a vision I had as a child. Coming from a region with a history rooted in carpet weaving and shawl making, I was fortunate to witness all of the beautiful handmade products that my people traded in. I also got to see the master artisans and their families who created these world renowned works of artistry doing what they love. I fantasized about working in the local, handmade industry in a BIG way – I just didn’t know how it would one day become possible.
I was in total awe of the beauty the local people imagined-into-form.
But my love for natural beauty didn't stop there. As a young boy growing up in the picturesque valleys of Kashmir, I was fortunate to have been exposed to the rich cultural heritage of the Kashmiri people and the astounding beauty of the Himalayan Mountains. We had so much natural beauty at our complete and total disposal, and while there were definitely tough times, most of us knew we lived in one of the most magnificent places on earth.
Kashmir is a region that experiences four distinct seasons. My memories of Kashmir’s seasons are very strong… and how they dramatically impacted our rhythm of life. Shawl making also followed the rhythm of the seasons. Spring produced plants and flowers which were harvested to create the organic colors for the shawls and their embroidery. Summer was perfect for dying materials with color, as the heat would help with the drying process. Winter was long and cold in Kashmir. Much of the tedious embroidery happened and continues to happen in the winter months, while families wait for the snow to melt to start farming again.
Those are some of my most vivid memories I have as a boy. I remember watching the Kashmiri people work so hard to keep the art of shawl making alive, as they did their best to make a living. I have a deep respect and undying bond with the people of Kashmir; it’s a connection that’s so strong, it remains an extremely powerful influence in my life today. My kinship with the Kashmiri people is what inspired me to start The Kashmir Company and its Seasons Brand.
However, it wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I actually conceived of the Seasons concept. I thought to myself, “What if I could be the bridge that connects an artisan sitting in a small room, in a village that’s in the middle of nowhere, working in candlelight and help him or her show the world what he or she created? What if I could help the local Kashmiri artisans make a living wage, doing what they love; doing what is literally ingrained in their DNA?”
In the process, I thought to myself: “What if I could show the world the magnificent fashion-art creations that have endured beyond countless superficial trends & untold generations?” The Seasons Brand is the manifestation of answering those questions.
Fast forward to the present…
The Seasons Brand is experiencing its next evolutionary step. We’re continuing to make it easier for you see, experience and purchase our exclusively designed Kashmir Shawls & Scarves. In fact, we just recently went through a series of professional model shoots that you’re seeing here on the site right now. And I write with a smile on my face that getting the Fall Seasons Collection creatively designed, developed and photographed has been one of the most exciting times in BOTH my professional & personal life. Why? Well, our ability to create exposure for the Kashmiri artisans who handcraft these amazing pieces of wearable art is even bigger than ever.
Words can’t even begin to express how unconditionally happy that makes me.
Stay tuned for some of my amazing stories and thank you for supporting the Kashmiri Artisans who hand-create our totally original pieces of fashion art!
To Reflecting Seasons Beauty in the Fashion-Art You Wear!
P.S. I recently returned from another trip to Kashmir where I worked with our devoted artisans to complete the shawls & scarves for the upcoming Winter Seasons Collection. The amount of inspiration coming through in what’s being produced is simply amazing. I can’t wait to share everything we’re creating… just for you.
P.P.S. After I left Kashmir, I went into technology (another love of mine.) I worked for companies such as Intel and IBM and started some of my own. I also had a deeply fulfilling job as an executive at the GAP Corporation. In my heart though, I always felt a burning passion for Kashmir and its people’s rich heritage. The concept of creating a company that would bridge the artisan from a Kashmir village and showcase his/her brilliance to the world was my dream. And now, you’re seeing the result of a young boy’s fantasy to help the Kashmiri people have a voice for their timeless artistic expression… Life is good.