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Geographical Indication (GI) Label on Kashmir Pashmina.

Geographical Indication (GI) Label on Kashmir Pashmina

In order to preserve the centuries old art of spinning and weaving of genuine pashmina fabric. And to maintain international standards the Government of India (Under WTO) has established a quality mark for genuine Pashmina that will identify items the genuine fiber known as Pashm obtained from the goat living in Ladakh of Kashmir region. Geographical Indication (GI) Label on Kashmir Pashmina is a US patent stamp on the original ‘Kashmir Pashmina’ fabric or its products and is known as the G.I Mark.

Geographical Indication (GI) is a name or sign used on certain unique products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin (e.g. a town, region, or country). The use of a Geographical Indication may act as a certification that the product possesses certain unique qualities not found elsewhere and is made according to traditional methods, or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin, under the Paris Convention and Lisbon Agreement.

UNCTAD, WTO and UNESCO have argued that the crafts from the substantial part of country’s cultural heritage, skills related to such crafts are affiliated to a community and must be protected in the areas of their origin. The world business organization believe that when the arts and crafts of one region are copied by others, they are deprived of earning without their consent, and deprived of from their rightful earnings. Limited crafts like Kashmir Pashmina are given bad name to the original craft. Hence the GI Act was passed as a part of exercise to save the indigenous art and craft of the area in compliance to Article 22 of TRIPS agreement. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO) that sets down minimum standards for many forms of Intellectual Property (IP) regulation as applied to nationals of other WTO Members.

For a layman to understand: GI Mark is a stamp which is put on any woven product like scarfs, stoles, shawls, coats, or any manufactured product from the real Pashmina material which is; 1:- Hand-spun; 2:-  Hand-woven; 3:- 12 to 16 microns fiber diameter.. It is done at Craft Development Institute (CDI), at Srinagar, Kashmir, India. The Kashmir pashmina products go through quality control checks using electronic microscopy, physical and chemical test before stamping on each product. The stamp is patented in which one can see 100% Genuine and Registered Pashmina under U.V light and green sparkling under laser light. The registration number on the stamp can be tracked online i.e. the manufacturer of product, his phone number and address. The stamping is done to those Pashmina artisan who is registered under the GI Authority of India head office at Chennai.

There was a legal fight between different countries to whose pashmina the G.I stamp will be provided. Indian side of Kashmir was given that privilege to stamp their pashmina because of reasons:-

1- Only women folk of Kashmir can make a thin yarn out of this delicate fiber on this blue planet as pashmina fiber does not comes on yarn making machines.

2:- Its origin is in Kashmir (Cashmere).

3:- Only Ladakh region of Kashmir, which is also the highest plateau on the earth, has goats called Changthang which can make ‘Pashm” or fiber of 12 to 16 microns of diameter. Other countries cashmere goats make more than 20 microns diameter of fiber and that is then mixed with nylon to be spun and  woven on machines.

The word “cashmere,” from the eighteenth-century English spelling of Kashmiri shawls’ geographical home, was popularly linked with “exotic” luxury in nineteenth-century Britain. European and American firms used “cashmere” to give distinction to locally manufactured shawls, fabrics, and even toiletries. (A talcum powder named “Cashmere Bouquet” is still sold by an American mail order business which specializes in commodity nostalgia, with an advertisement situating the product in the 1870s.) 4 Western manufacturers produced imitation Kashmiri shawls and used the word “cashmere” to promote their own products. 5 Similarly, in the late 1990s western European and American marketing relied on the exoticism of a different Subcontinental word, pashmina, to sell plain-weave shawls made from the same goat hair as “cashmere.” 6 Pashmina shawls went from being exclusive high fashion to middle-class popularity in 2000.

Visit our blog link for amazing facts and history of Kashmir Pashmina https://kashmirpashminagi.com/the-asian-shawl-trade-1500-1800-ad/