Women's Shawls(1,396 items)
Add flare to your wardrobe with a Pashmina shawl, or a unique silk batik shawl.
The Village Council
Your answers straight from the village experts
Hand-washing and dry cleaning are the most common ways to care for and clean shawls. Many of our alpaca shawls specifically indicate dry-cleaning or hand-washing with cold water. Because shawls are delicate, a garment bag is a good way to prevent damage. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat. As always, it is important to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric of your shawl.
The great thing about shawls is that they are versatile. One can find a shawl for every season. Warmth is often based on the tightness of the weave and the type of material used. Alpaca fiber is known for its thermal capacity and provides an optimal degree of warmth. Sheep wool also acts as an insulator, absorbing moisture and creating a feeling of coziness for the wearer. Shawls made of cashmere and pashmina are light and thin, yet still provide a high degree of warmth. In Mexico, shawls made from San Juan Chamula sheep keep one warm and comfortable.
Comfort is always a question of preference, but certain fabrics lend themselves to softness and warmth. Shawls from the Andes are made from super soft alpaca fibers, and provide wearers a high level of comfort. Similarly, in Thailand and Bali, silk shawls are always favorites. Depending on one’s climate, particular shawls may be preferable. Central American shawls made from cotton and rayon keep wearers cool in warm climates, whereas bamboo and acrylic shawls are great for cold weather. During hot summers, Indian shawls made of modal, silk, and viscose are a perfect option, and merino wool and cashmere are ideal for winter. West Africa stands by the luxurious comfort of their 100% cotton shawls, and Mexico prioritizes comfort with their beautiful wool designs.
It depends on what you mean by handmade. We support artisans who work in the ancient traditions of their ancestors, crafting items by hand, with patience and love. But techniques vary among shawl makers. Embroidery, hand-painting, stitching, and sewing are often part of the process. Some artisans do use power looms when crafting their shawls, but even in those instances, there is no mega-factory or mass production line behind the garment. The beauty, creativity, and inspiration for each shawl comes from the artist’s own heart. Our product descriptions will always specify if an item is hand-woven, hand-knit, or otherwise.
The shawl comes to us full of history, culture, and heritage. Each region invests its shawls with different symbols, patterns, and designs. Some shawls, like those in West Africa and the Andes, feature linear and geometric shapes, clean lines and patterns that have been passed down through the centuries. In Bali, we find elaborate batik designs, a technique that makes use of alternating dye and wax to block color. In Central America, embroidered and woven shawls incorporate designs inspired by corn, butterflies, and birds. Floral patterns are very popular in Indian shawls, particularly in pashminas from Kashmir. Gujarati shawls often depict geometric shapes, and artisans increasingly incorporate contemporary designs through hand-painted fabric. Thailand also integrates floral patterning, often using the yok dok technique, a brocade style that leaves the fabric slightly raised. This emphasis on brocade is also evident in Mexican shawls, with lavish designs in the form of frets, flowers and geometric figures, all inspired by pre-Hispanic cultures.
Fibers, dyes, and fabrics come together in innovative, unique ways during the creation of a shawl. Different regions rely on resources that are readily available and have cultural significance. In West Africa, 100% cotton and rayon frequently make their appearances in shawls. In Bali and Thailand, soft silk lends a luxuriousness to the shawl. Central American artisans incorporate bamboo rayon, while India makes use of wool and silk. Mexico boasts an array of vibrant natural and cotton yarn dyes, and artisans from the Andes weave shawls out of soft alpaca fiber.
Throughout the world, the shawl is considered a venerated garment, made by hand from techniques passed down through generations. The methods for making traditional shawls vary as widely as the regions from which they come. But most employ some method of hand knitting or weaving on a loom. In the Andes, for example, crocheting and flat weaving on a treadle loom are common techniques. In Central America, backstrap and foot looms are popular with artisans. In Bali, one finds intricate sewing, in addition to weaving. And in India and Thailand, practices of hand-painting fabric, batik, and the use of natural dyes are intimately tied to the creation of shawls.
Answers to your most pressing questions about handmade shawls
Indian Jamawar Wool Shawl with Paisley Motifs, "Himalayan Heirloom" by Saleena Chapa From knitted alpaca wool to delicate batik silk, earth tones to bright hues, handmade shawls are a beautiful way to integrate art into your wardrobe. The... read more
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Featured Reviews on Women's Shawls
Detailed handwork and beautiful design
I purchased this wonderful textile that can be worn as a shawl or on a table as a runner. Detailed craftsmanship and perfect execution.
This wrap is a perfect size and weight for adding a little warmth on a cool evening or early morning. The quality is superb, the weaving is tight and smooth, the colors are so lovely and it wash s up beautifully - colors don t fade and the fringe doesn t tangle. It hangs dry nicely and irons easily. I really love it! I made this purchase after buying a scarf from this same group of artists because I was so impressed by their work.
Raquel and Gregor Alpaca accessories
"We would like to thank you for supporting our art, which in turn will benefit many Peruvian families."
Popular Women's Shawls
Unique Rayon Chenille Shawl, "Maya Firebird"$119.95
Women of the Guatemalan textile arts cooperativeK’amolon K’i K’ojonel (meaning “let’s get together”)collaborate on this elegant shawl. From the women whodye the bamboo rayon fibers, to those who spin theminto silky threads, to those who weave it on a backstrap loom, each step is done by hand at home. 100% rayon from bamboo.
Deep Blue Handwoven Raw Silk Shawl from Thailand, "Shimmering Indigo"$39.99
A sumptuous swath of shimmering indigo blue silk is ready to embrace you. Thai artisan Vinita presents this versatile handwoven shawl, ravishing in a heavenly sapphire hue.
Please note that this raw silk fabric may have subtle slubs; these are part of the weaving process and are not flaws.
Silk scarf, "Blue Thai Maze" When selecting an outfit there are a few rules of thumb that can help... read more