A 1965 British video smugly traces the ‘surprising’ origins of chic cashmere to 'primitive Kashmir'
‘Srinagar – capital of Kashmir and the last place you'd expect to find on a fashion map.’
It's not been a good time for the erstwhile British empire as the former "colonies" catch up on their anger. And this documentary, released by British Pathé, won't make things better.
For, it explores the “surprising link” between those it calls fashionable white women and those its dubs primitive wool gathering girls of Kashmir.
The channel is marking “India month” on YouTube and has recently released its newsreels on Kashmir, which is portrayed as an exotic, superstitious, faraway land that supplies "cashmere". This video lingers on men performing a religious ritual, even scoffing at them.
Cashmere, called Pashmina in India, is made from the fine down of Himalayan goats.
The narrative starts: “A girl from the Himalayas, and a girl from London, and what's the link? How can it be that a primitive wanderer like this, and a sophisticated miss like that can be dependent on each other... Come to Srinagar to see the primitive origins of the softest material that western women regard as the last word in luxury...”
And then there's this: “Consider the improbability of this shanty town start of gossamer loveliness...”