India, AFRA by House Of Mirs
AFRA is the label for textiles produced by House of Mir, a centuries old business based in Kashmir, India. The hand embroidery and weaving company dates back to at least 1885 and for four generations of the same family. Akhtar Mir is one of the current generation, continuing the company’s mission to promote the beautiful craftsmanship of Kashmir. Kashmir hand-embroidered shawls and textiles are famous worldwide.
A single embroidered pashmina shawl goes through many processes with different families; from goat farming to produce the fibre, to fibre collection, spinning, weaving, dyeing, design stamping, hand embroidery and finishing. The spinning of the pashmina fibre is only done by women and the weaving is only done by men. Hand embroidery is done by both men and women. Embroidery is possibly the only Kashmir craft that can be done anywhere on the go, in any corner of the house. Artisans don’t need a loom or frame, just a needle or a hook, depending on the technique used, and thread.
AFRA is associated with many other textile families and groups in the area. When they receive bulk orders they are able to distribute the commission to artisans all over the region, even in remote areas. The company’s aim is to reach out to the maximum number of artisans and families across the Kashmir valley and support the continuation of the industry. AFRA artisans are also experts in the restoration of antique textiles, including jamawar and paisley and have been doing restoration work since 1949.