Srinagar: You must have definitely heard of Kashmir valley’s famed Pashmina shawls but have you ever heard of Pashmina caps?
In a first, two youth from ‘Shahr-e-Khaas’ have introduced a fusion of Pashmina and Sozni caps in the markets. These trendsetting skull caps are completely handmade and have received a good response from buyers.
The caps were introduced by Mohsin Fayaz and Owais Bhat in the markets and the Sozni work has been done by experienced craftsman Abdul Ahad.
Mohsin, who has done an MBA, said they initially got the caps made for themselves and relatives and later decided to turn it into a business.
Now, men too can make a Pashmina fashion statement
“Pashmina shawls are mostly a trend only among ladies but we decided to make Pashmina caps for men. In 2018, we got this idea and initially, we made the caps for ourselves and relatives and acquaintances. When we got a good response, we turned it into a business in 2019. We thought it was prudent to make these Pashmina-Sozni caps as these were not available in the markets and no one had done it before,” Mohsin told The Kashmir Monitor.
The Sozni work is done by Abdul Ahad, who has been in the business for around four decades now.
“He (Abdul Ahad) has experience of 40 years in Sozni works. These caps are made of handwoven Pashmina fabric and then we do sozni work with hand also,” said Mohsin, who hails from Narwara in the old city.
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 geometrical motifs and designs of paisley, florals, and formalized replications of nature on a shawl’s panel. A single piece of sozni cap undergoes various steps like weaving, dyeing, imprinting designs on pashmina; the process usually takes one to two weeks of dedicated work depending on the intricacy of design. A single cap costs between Rs. 3000 and Rs. 10,000.
Sozni caps on Srinagar Crafts Safari itinerary
Incidentally, one can see craftsman Abdul Ahad doing sozni work on Pashmina caps at Narwara in the old city during the ‘Srinagar Crafts Safari’ that has been started by the Handicrafts Department recently. The safari was started in the wake of Srinagar making it to the coveted list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Crafts and Folk Arts Category for the year 2021.
Director, Handicrafts and Handloom, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said they had started the Srinagar Craft Safari as part of efforts to give a boost to the handicrafts sector.
“We have started the Srinagar Craft Safari in different parts of old Srinagar city so that the people come to know about the rich handicraft products. Through the safari, people will also meet the artisans and see how different handicraft products are made,” Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.
Srinagar sixth Indian city on UNESCO list
This year, Srinagar’s application was forwarded to UNESCO on June 29 by the Government of India (GoI) and now this nomination is the global recognition to the rich craft legacy of Srinagar. Pertinently, the dossier for nomination for Srinagar as a creative city was first filed by Srinagar in 2019. However, only two cities – Hyderabad for Gastronomy and Mumbai for Film were chosen that year. Prior to 2019, only three Indian cities had been recognized as members of creative cities – Jaipur (Crafts and Folk Arts) in 2015, Varanasi (Creative city of Music) in 2015, and Chennai (Creative city of Music) in 2017.