Great Falls Library Branch Manager Daniela Dixon and Princess Aliyah in front of Kashmir Rose shawl displays.
Princess Aliyah, owner of Kashmir Rose shawls and the woman behind Great Falls-based wildlife conservation program Wolf Spirit Radio, brought a display of hand embroidered Kashmir shawls to the Great Falls Library to start the month.
Aliyah then went to Langley High School's fashion & marketing class Wednesday, Oct. 9, where she gave a lecture focused on the introduction of the Kashmir shawl to the West in the 17th century. She explained to the students how the shawl became the most desired gift among wealthy women of Europe during the 18th century, and ultimately, her own vision for popularizing the shawl in Great Falls in order to bring hope and a better economy to the people of contemporary Kashmir.
Napoleon Bonaparte inspired the shawl's popularity when he presented a gift of a Kashmir shawl to Empress Josephine, the fashion icon of Europe. Soon she had over 1,000 Kashmir garments. When she wore shawls, coats and other garments hand-spun and hand-woven in Kashmir from the finest natural fibers of high mountain goats, from France to Russia, gifts from Kashmir became the most sought after treasures by European nobility. Great works of art from the 17th & 18th centuries often depict women wearing original Kashmir shawls and dresses.
Ongoing war in Kashmir threatened to destroy the tradition of art, but Princess Aliyah has a vision to revive the fine arts of Kashmir. Through Great Falls' community support and purchase of Kashmir Rose products, over 200 Kashmiri artisans and their families have an opportunity to dream again.
In response, Langley High School’s fashion and marketing students formed a group lead by Ariel Thompson to showcase Kashmir Rose shawls at their annual fashion show in February 2014. Ariel is also arranging a mom-and-daughter Kashmir Rose fashion shoot in November. If you are interested in participating, email email@example.com.
Visit the Great Falls Library display for more information, shop at the Kashmir Rose caravan on Saturdays at the Great Falls market between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. or Bedheaders Home in the Great Falls shopping center.