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.