Jamawar fabric from Kashmir is one of the most beautiful and exquisitely designed textiles of India. The name of this textile can be divided into two parts: ‘Jama’ meaning robe or shawl and ‘War’ meaning yard. The name is a reference to the fact that originally, Jamavar fabric was only used to make yard long shawls which were purchased by locals to protect themselves against the cold in the chilly winter months. Nowadays, however, it is used to make a wide variety of garments including sarees, shalwar kameez, kurtas, kurtis and even lehenga cholis.
Jamawar fabric history is a very interesting one, encompassing multiple dynasties and geographical locations. The technique of weaving this fabric travelled from Persia to Kashmir, reaching the Indian sub-continent about 5 centuries ago. The production of this fabric flourished in the Mughal reign. Emperor Akbar patronized this fabric which led to a period of economic success for the weavers and a wide-spread popularity for the fabric.
Any compendium of Jamawar fabric information would be incomplete without a mention of Banaras, the center of brocade fabric weaving since the medieval times. Jamawar is actually one of the sub-types of the glorious Banarasi brocade. After it arrived in India, the Jamawar technique was further developed by Banarasi weavers, who also introduced beautiful Indian designs and motifs into it. The techniques for creating Jamawar fabrics were so intricate and time-consuming it would sometimes take a decade or more to produce a single shawl. Once the Jacquard loom was introduced into the process, the time to produce this fabric was reduced, along with cost. This widened the customer base and made this fabric accessible to a people of different classes and income groups. With the wane of the Mughal Empire, the patronage for this fabric declined and the industry dwindled to just a few artisans. In the last century, the Indian government put in special efforts to revive the traditional textile industries of India. This, combined with the increasing demand for exquisite ethnic textiles in Indian as well as international circles, led to a revival of the Jamawar fabric industry. It is even possible for customers in international locations to purchase Jamawar fabric online, from trusted retailers of ethnic fashions and textiles.
Banarasi Jamawar fabric is set apart by its shimmering and intricate beauty. Multiple hues and detailed designs combine to create a truly exquisite textile. The designs are woven into the fabric itself, and unlike traditional Banarasi brocade, it is neatly clipped on the reverse side. The popular motifs include paisley, flowers, flowering branches, leaves and other such nature inspired designs, as well as Persian style artwork. The artistic motifs are arrayed along rich, zari-woven borders and may sometimes be woven all over the garment. From rich, traditional hues such as red, blue and yellow to delicate pastel shades of pink and green, women will find all types of colors to choose from. Figurative motifs of hunters, deer, peacocks and birds are also quite commonly seen on this type of fabric.
The base material with which Jamawar fabric is woven can also vary depending on the aesthetic desired by the weaver. Jamawar silk fabric is the traditional type, made with finest silk threads woven into an exquisite, heavily patterned brocade fabric. The subtle sheen and high-end beauty of this textile sets it apart and has helped to cements its status as the most popular and well-recognized Jamawar fabric even today. Weavers, however, are increasingly using unconventional fabrics to create beautiful Jamawar textiles. Jamawar chiffon fabric is one such interesting innovation. It has a very delicate, beautiful look.
In Kashmir, Jamawar is still woven using an adulterated form of Pashmina made of wool and cotton. This type of fabric is meant to keep the wearer warm and is the perfect textile for cold weather.
Styling and Trends of Jamawar Fabric
Today, Jamawar fabric is used to make all types of clothing, from the classic shawls to trendy sarees, salwar kameez, kurtas, lehenga cholis and much more. The beauty and intricacy of this fabric has also attracted the attention of high-fashion designers, who have chosen repeatedly to use it in order to create gorgeous designer party-wear.
Styling and accessorizing such a rich fabric requires a certain amount of attention to detail. The aim is to present an ensemble that is balanced and visually harmonious. Multiple pieces of overly heavy jewelry will create an unnecessary clash and would only be appropriate if it is a bridal ensemble. For other special occasions, it is best to stick with one or two pieces of classic Indian jewelry such as a Kundan necklaces, Polki earrings, diamond mang-tikkas or gold bangles. These will nicely complement the traditional, intricate aesthetic of the garment. A pretty, embellished potli with matching designs will finish the ensemble perfectly.