Hi Guys and a happy evening to you. The holiday season is in full swing and so is the planning for my Pakistan trip next year. I am furiously writing lists of gifts to buy, items to pack, and things to see. I visited Karachi last year in the Spring and it was a whirlwind two-week trip (See HERE) focused on seeing the historic sites of Karachi. This year I have a another theme planned out, which still includes plenty of culture, food, and relatives. Anyways, I am writing two posts today because my mind is blooming with fresh ideas on what my lady followers can do this winter with their Pakistani wardrobe. What I am about to propose today you can do with eastern wear AND western wear such as denim jeans and kurtas which is so Lahori.
Few people outside California know that Los Angeles’ fashion scene is a little hub very different from the rest of the country. If you have visited the area, you know that like Silicon Valley in North California, it has its own culture and vibe. You will notice the low-key, relaxed bohemian vibe the moment you step on the palm-tree-lined roadways. People show skin pretty much all year long and it is all about fresh face makeup and light, breezy fabrics here. Trust me, not everyone is spending their days and evenings in gowns like Hollywood will have you believe. So I had a very interesting idea (yes, I have many that fit the category) on how to incorporate this beachy, Cochella-esque, Los Angeles vibe to your Pakistani attire.
First, the History of the Embroidered Shawl
It’s a long, loved tradition of Pakistan to wear woolen shawls in the winter months. It is only in the far North area where I have seen men wear jackets, but overall the staple winter attire for women all over Pakistan is woolen shawls. When I was younger, I heard so much about the Kashmiri shawl. According to tradition, the founder of the industry was Zayn-ul-ʿĀbidīn, a 15th-century ruler of Kashmir who introduced weavers from Turkistan.
These woolen Kashmir shawls are woven partly or wholly from goat hair called pashm. In the 19th century, shawls were classified as pashm shāla (made from the hair of domesticated goats) and aslī tūsh (made from the hair of wild goats). By this time, Kashmiri shawls had also become fashionable in Europe. In response to foreign tastes, the traditional designs were replaced by or adapted to patterns supplied by foreign dealers such as paisley. However, around 1870, the Kashmir industry almost collapsed. Fortunately, a strong effort began in the recent years to revive the industry. High-end designers like Bunto Kazmi, Nida Azwer, Sania Maskatiya, and up-and-coming Sehar Adil make unique, hand-woven, hand-embroidered shawls for their patrons. These shawls are made-to-order and not available anywhere online. Highly coveted, they can be a luxurious touch to an important day-event.
So, where does Cult Gaia come in?
Cult Gaia is a Los Angeles-based fashion brand started by Jasmin Larian. This brand is perfect for those women that don’t take life seriously and like to have fun with fashion. These tasteful acrylic bags may seem contradictory with Pakistani fashion sensibilities, but, honestly, the sculptural shape of these bags make them versatile and affordable-must-have for any Pakistani/Indian-American women’s closet. For those women who think that high-end fashion look is not attainable, must look into Cult Gaia.
As a young woman, I know Kashmiri shawls are reserved and afforded by classy older women. However, if you have your mother’s heirloom piece handed down to you or if you can shop at Khaadi for cheaper embroidered options, then what I am about to suggest will look adorable and age-appropriate for you. If you have a darker shawl, then carrying Cult Gaia’s (multicolored) Small Multi Acrylic Ark (See HERE) will be a whimsical way to play with colors; for those beautiful creme and white shawls, the Cult Gaia Small Acrylic Ark Bag (See HERE) or Cult Gaia Mini Ark Handbag in orange (See HERE) would be perfect. If you want to move away from Cult Gaia’s well-known ark bags, then the eye-pleaser (and mind-bending) Large Lilleth Top Handle (See HERE) would be perfect for a unique woman. The most famous of the ark bags is this bamboo Cult Gaia Mini Ark Handbag (See HERE) will go perfectly with those bright-colored shawls such as pink, blue, or green.
I hope you guys take notice of this advice because I promise you, people will stop and ask you where you got these artsy bags from. Accessorize jeans and kurtas (or dresses) or even some trousers, short kurtas with shawls and these Cult Gaia bags. You will stunning!
*For those ladies, who would like to see these bags with western wear, please visit The- Atlantic-Pacific blog (See HERE) for ideas.