Shu is a hand-spun, hand-woven, hand-loom fabric made of sheep’s wool and characteristic of the Chitral region in Northern Pakistan. A famous product, shu has been traded across borders, in the mountainous region connecting Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Xinjiang in Northwest China.
Because of its purely natural and organic origins, Shu has a rugged texture, and a unique look and feel; the fabric is felted after weaving which ensures that as well as being light and warm, it is also wind-proof.
Copyright: © Adil Iqbal
The Chitrali wool used for the jackets was supplied by Kho and Kalashi, the only organisation in Chitral working diligently to safegard Chitrali shu through community engagement, vocational training workshops and sustainable manufacturing models to create income generation.
The tradition of Shu is deeply rooted in the culture, mythology and folklore of Chitrali society. Kho and Kalashi's team of artisans are working to safeguard the endangered knowledge, skills and wisdom of Chitralu Shu.
Photo credit: Kho and Kalashi.
Koel was established in 1977 to promote the revival of hand-loom weaving and block-printing. Ahead of its time, Koel evolved a design philosophy that began to breathe new life into the traditional design repertoire. Soon, it began to use the indigenous technology of renewable natural dyes extracted from leaves, flowers, roots and bark to saturate its textiles. Koel works with the age-old wisdom of master craftsmen, linking a rich past to a vibrant present.