Women's Shawls(1,279 items)
Oblong, square or triangular textiles owe their designation as shawls or pashminas to Kashmir but their diversity records the textile history of our world. Whether knit on needles by a single artisan or woven on a backstrap loom by a women's collective, our shawls bear the handcrafted hallmark, the hallmark of time. Explore the hand-dyed colors, the jeweled embellishments, and the warps and wefts of wonder waiting to be discovered in this unique collection of handcrafted textile treasures.
The Village Council
Your answers straight from the village experts
Hand-washing and dry cleaning are the most common ways to care for and clean shawls. Many of our alpaca shawls specifically indicate dry-cleaning or hand-washing with cold water. Because shawls are delicate, a garment bag is a good way to prevent damage. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat. As always, it is important to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric of your shawl.
The great thing about shawls is that they are versatile. One can find a shawl for every season. Warmth is often based on the tightness of the weave and the type of material used. Alpaca fiber is known for its thermal capacity and provides an optimal degree of warmth. Sheep wool also acts as an insulator, absorbing moisture and creating a feeling of coziness for the wearer. Shawls made of cashmere and pashmina are light and thin, yet still provide a high degree of warmth. In Mexico, shawls made from San Juan Chamula sheep keep one warm and comfortable.
Comfort is always a question of preference, but certain fabrics lend themselves to softness and warmth. Shawls from the Andes are made from super soft alpaca fibers, and provide wearers a high level of comfort. Similarly, in Thailand and Bali, silk shawls are always favorites. Depending on ones climate, particular shawls may be preferable. Central American shawls made from cotton and rayon keep wearers cool in warm climates, whereas bamboo and acrylic shawls are great for cold weather. During hot summers, Indian shawls made of modal, silk, and viscose are a perfect option, and merino wool and cashmere are ideal for winter. West Africa stands by the luxurious comfort of their 100% cotton shawls, and Mexico prioritizes comfort with their beautiful wool designs.
It depends on what you mean by handmade. We support artisans who work in the ancient traditions of their ancestors, crafting items by hand, with patience and love. But techniques vary among shawl makers. Embroidery, hand-painting, stitching, and sewing are often part of the process. Some artisans do use power looms when crafting their shawls, but even in those instances, there is no mega-factory or mass production line behind the garment. The beauty, creativity, and inspiration for each shawl comes from the artists own heart. Our product descriptions will always specify if an item is hand-woven, hand-knit, or otherwise.
The shawl comes to us full of history, culture, and heritage. Each region invests its shawls with different symbols, patterns, and designs. Some shawls, like those in West Africa and the Andes, feature linear and geometric shapes, clean lines and patterns that have been passed down through the centuries. In Bali, we find elaborate batik designs, a technique that makes use of alternating dye and wax to block color. In Central America, embroidered and woven shawls incorporate designs inspired by corn, butterflies, and birds. Floral patterns are very popular in Indian shawls, particularly in pashminas from Kashmir. Gujarati shawls often depict geometric shapes, and artisans increasingly incorporate contemporary designs through hand-painted fabric. Thailand also integrates floral patterning, often using the yok dok technique, a brocade style that leaves the fabric slightly raised. This emphasis on brocade is also evident in Mexican shawls, with lavish designs in the form of frets, flowers and geometric figures, all inspired by pre-Hispanic cultures.
Fibers, dyes, and fabrics come together in innovative, unique ways during the creation of a shawl. Different regions rely on resources that are readily available and have cultural significance. In West Africa, 100% cotton and rayon frequently make their appearances in shawls. In Bali and Thailand, soft silk lends a luxuriousness to the shawl. Central American artisans incorporate bamboo rayon, while India makes use of wool and silk. Mexico boasts an array of vibrant natural and cotton yarn dyes, and artisans from the Andes weave shawls out of soft alpaca fiber.
Throughout the world, the shawl is considered a venerated garment, made by hand from techniques passed down through generations. The methods for making traditional shawls vary as widely as the regions from which they come. But most employ some method of hand knitting or weaving on a loom. In the Andes, for example, crocheting and flat weaving on a treadle loom are common techniques. In Central America, backstrap and foot looms are popular with artisans. In Bali, one finds intricate sewing, in addition to weaving. And in India and Thailand, practices of hand-painting fabric, batik, and the use of natural dyes are intimately tied to the creation of shawls.
Answers to your most pressing questions about handmade shawls
Indian Jamawar Wool Shawl with Paisley Motifs, "Himalayan Heirloom" From knitted alpaca wool to delicate batik silk, earth tones to bright hues, handmade shawls are a beautiful way to integrate art into your wardrobe. The techniques used to... read more
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Featured Reviews on Women's Shawls
soft and warm
I bought this to go with a summer dress because of the matching color. The shawl is a perfect compliment, not to warm and not to chilly on cool summer nights.
I gave this to my sister for her 70th birthday and she loves it. Its elegant and light and perfect for travel.
My new fave!
The pictures did not do this shawl justice - the Mexican Rose color is much more vibrant than it appears. Ive already worn this a couple of times and gotten compliments each time. Super comfy and the material is very soft.
Raquel and Gregor Alpaca accessories
"We would like to thank you for supporting our art, which in turn will benefit many Peruvian families."
Popular Women's Shawls
Handwoven Jamawar Wool Shawl in Teal from India, "Himalayan Heirloom in Teal"$64.99
Against a body of teal and navy, colorful flowers dance under paisley clouds in a stunning jamawar from Sandeep Malhotra. So intricate was the work of an authentic jamawar that a person could finish only one shawl in his lifetime. Such shawls were not sold, but were given to kings and queens who, in turn, gave the artisan properties according to the worth of the shawl. Authentic jamawar is virtually unavailable, but replicas such as this recall their amazing beauty.
Block-Printed Cotton Shawl from India, "Mughal Glory"$25.99
Working in the traditional style of block printing, Indian artisans hand-carve wood blocks to apply the intricate melon, azure, and smoke motifs onto the snow white body of this regal cotton shawl. Vijay Singh offers this fantastic shawl, which is enhanced with plastic beads.
Artisan Crafted Colorful Cotton Shawl from Guatemala, "Festival of Color"$67.99
Evoking the colors of a Guatemalan festival, this shawl features vibrant stripes, X patterns, and squares that are woven by hand from cotton yarns. Elena Ixtamer creates this shawl, which is accented at the ends with dangling fringe work.
Unique Rayon Chenille Shawl, "Maya Firebird"$109.99
Women of the Guatemalan textile arts cooperativeK’amolon K’i K’ojonel (meaning “let’s get together”)collaborate on this elegant shawl. From the women whodye the bamboo rayon fibers, to those who spin theminto silky threads, to those who weave it on a backstrap loom, each step is done by hand at home. 100% rayon from bamboo.
In honor of Black History Month this February, were showcasing artisans and artifacts that celebrate West... read more
Meet Elena Ixtamer, WeaverofJoy Elena Ixtamerweaves gratitude into every piece she makes. It is evident in the... read more