EVERYDAY newspapers are abound with editorial and opinion pieces about the crashing economy of Kashmir. If data is to be trusted, we’re in a deep mess. While the economic fallout is essentially a result of the political, social and health milieu; there are certainly some individual steps that we as a community can take to ensure that we shop in a manner that is not only ethical but also instrumental to safeguard the economic health of Kashmir.
To this end, we need to shop from local stores and endorse indigenous products. It is true that Kashmir has not been the only host for globalisation. Fashion, food, culture and consumption in general has been affected by the larger changes that the world has seen collectively.
However, as Kashmiris, we’ve had the bitter privilege of knowing the significance of being mindful of culture and heritage. We’re also painfully aware of the absence of any system that seeks our true benefits. In this schema, it becomes all the more important for us to look for community efforts to ensure that we leave no stone unturned for our own benefits.
As far as fashion is concerned, we have to ensure that we promote trends that lead to an increase in the sales of designs that are made within Kashmir. This could begin with each of us taking a conscious step to include as many Kashmiri garments in our closet as we can. This does not necessarily mean that we’ve to compromise on our style statements. Infact, for each one of us, it will be an opportunity to redefine style for ourselves.
With the winter round the corner, one can easily pledge to include as many winter garments as possible. Sure, one has to be an ethical buyer and keep in mind the environmental fallout of shopping excessively; but this makes Kashmiri garments all the more viable. Pherans are of different kinds. They are affordable and if one likes investing in quality pieces one can also spend a little extra.
The attempt to include Kashmiri clothes doesn’t imply some puritan disdain for fashion from other places. However, ignoring our own designs and forgetting our artisan’s livelihood is an absolutely careless and callous approach to our own people.
This winter, resolve to wear Kashmiri clothes and make an attempt to prefer local stores for non-Kashmiri garments as well. This small change can definitely bring some positive change. If nothing, atleast, we’d see some people walking confidently on the Residency Road in a beautiful pheran styled to stun!
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