In the 14th century, the Persian sufi and scholar Mir Sayyed Ali Hamadani stumbled upon the Changthangi (or Pashmina) goats, which produced extremely fine wool fibres, in the Ladakh and Kashmir regions of India. On his next trip, he is said to have travelled with 700 of his best craftsmen, who brought the art of pashmina shawl weaving to Iran. They also taught the local weavers, who laid the foundation for the ancient craft of hand-weaving cashmere in Kashmir.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and 70% of the world’s cashmere is harvested from China and produced using machine looms. Only 0.1% of global cashmere production comes from Changthangi goats, native to the Kashmir region, whose coats produce longer fibres and are softer because of the harsh conditions of their environment.
Having spent 15 years living outside of Kashmir, Bushera Bashir, a global citizen and a proud Kashmiri at heart, founded Trebene with a mission to preserve the ancient craft of hand-woven cashmere in its place of origin. Trebene procures cashmere from its original source and works closely with Kashmiri craftsmen to meticulously weave each scarf and screenprint them delicately by hand.
The government of Kashmir is the sole provider of authentic cashmere from Changthangi goats. Trebene, in turn, procures its cashmere directly from the government of Kashmir. Cashmere fibres are distributed only to registered crafters in Kashmir, which keeps procurement authentic and sustainable. All the steps of the production process involve fair wages and safe working conditions for the crafters, and Trebene invests a portion of its revenue back into weaving communities in Kashmir.
Trebene is an ethical luxury label and each collection is made up of a small number of prints for a limited time, making each scarf a collector's item.
You could buy mass-produced cashmere scarves from China, of course. But how much more elegant to purchase a scarf made from the fibres of the original Changthangi goats of the Kashmir region of India, hand-weaved according to the ancient method? With Trebene, you join the 0.1% who do, and do so ethically.
"Since only 0.1% of global world production of cashmere comes from Kashmir, Trebene scarves highly exclusive. Each scarf is carefully hand-crafted over 30 days, thus combining craftsmanship with stylish designs,” says Bashir. “Working between Africa and Asia, we are blessed to experience the richness of cultures, stories and people which almost always culminates in our scarf designs in one way or the other.”
The social value lies at the epicentre of the brand. When you wear a Trebene scarf, you know that not only is it exclusive and ethically sourced, but you have also invested in the education of Kashmiri children.
Shop the Trebene collections at www.trebene.com or call them on 083 678 6766