Pashmina is the gem of Jammu and Kashmir’s heritage representing luxury par excellence. Housed in the finest of museums in the world, this exquisite luxury product is synonymous with Jammu and Kashmir. It is a known fact that this prized industry is indispensible for the state’s economy and employment. The industry is facing numerous challenges and requires innovative, contemporary and disruptive efforts to steer this craft and position our state in the world luxury market and as a heritage destination.
Babar’s startup initiative aims to preserve, enhance and re-imagine the authentic handmade pashmina heritage and explore the possibilities of sustainable luxury development through a first ever initiative called the Global Luxury Pashmina Dialogue Series. This event is poised to go to six states of India in the first series and then international bringing under one roof, the who’s who of the country including the top industrialists of India, investors, fashion elite, startup founders, Bollywood fraternity, top Government brass of India and J&K, Big Consulting Companies to showcase this rich luxury heritage of the state and to explore the possibilities of Inward Investments into the Pashmina Industry. The LPD Series will initiate a series of Round Table Conferences in all the tree regions Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with the key stake holders as a pre-cursor towards the series of events across the country in the coming year. These events will be intellectually driven round-table conference dialogues, bringing the most distinguished names of our state, from different domains, to discuss the possibilities and opportunities of ecology, economy, environment, branding, livelihood and sustainable luxury in context of the Pashmina and Tourism Industries. Speaking at the press conference Henna, the Co-founder of LPD said, “Shri. Narendra Modi, the Hon’ble PM says, when we talk of a “Look East” policy, we must also talk about “Link West”. LPD is a platform to build the thought leadership for the industry and build a true case of Luxury from India when it comes to “Make in India”. Both need to work simultaneously. Babar, who is the founder and curator of the series thanked the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Ms. Mehbooba Mufi who believes that Entrepreneurship has emerged as an important sector for providing livelihood not only to the youth who adopt it but also to a chain of people who work in subsidiary mode. He thanked her for extending full support from the Government to the Local, National and International Dialogue Series that Kashmir Ink Holdings will structure. This Dialogue series is a manifestation of the vision of our great leaders, which has been curated in perfect alignment with the national initiatives of Government of India which include Make in India, Invest in India, New India, Invest in J&K and Skill India. Babar said that, Jammu and Kashmir has to capitalize on its competitive advantage especially in traditional arts and crafts for sustained economic growth and arming the local youth with adequate skills. For J&K this remains a key area where we focus on fostering entrepreneurial culture and improving ease of doing business while at the same time promoting traditional crafts. Global Luxury Pashmina Dialogue is a novel approach that aims to bring under one roof the Government, Powerful Business Community, Art Connoisseurs, Industry Patrons and Trusted Bodies – the Who’s Who of the Country. The event aims to walk the audience through the journey of Pashmina right from Changthang in Ladakh, Bahsoli in Jammu, to the by lanes of Kashmir to the luxury stores of Europe. The event will be an amalgamation of several modules; each carefully crafted to address the above mentioned challenges being faced by the industry, thereby serving a game changer to create an impact factor in six major cities. The dialogue would also have participation and representation from six countries in the first stage which include France, Canada, UAE, UK, Monaco and Germany.
This event idea is to develop the thought leadership to build a lasting case for the key economic driver industry of J&K. This high level exclusive dialogue series between Thought Leaders, Government, Retail, Luxury Stakeholders, e-Commerce Drivers, Environment, Trade Bodies, Fashion Designers, Financial Institutions, Global Apparel Brands, Tourism Experts, Academic Institutions, Luxury Brands is to discuss regulatory issues, Macro-Economics, and consumer trends. This platform is designed to explore opportunities to innovate growth strategies and further accelerate the growth of the Pashmina Industry of J&K.
This Global Series is a brain child of the Pashmina Artist, Activist and Shepherd Babar Afzal, who is a former McKinsey Analyst, and now the founder of the Global Pashmina Goat Project who quit his Silicon Valley career to herd goats in Himalayas. From the past many years he has been highlighting the issues linked to the Pashmina eco-system across Himalayas which include, displacement of communities due to climate change, low wages, fake Pashmina influx, domination of a Pashmina nexus, depression in weavers, poor healthcare and the decreasing population of the delicate and sensitive Pashmina goats. With his selfless work from past several years, he has emerged as the most credible voice on Pashmina in the world (as reported by national and international media) who’s work for the community and journey has been profiled by TIME Magazine (time.com), BBC World Service, Bloomberg, NASDAQ and many more. His journey to become a Pashmina Goat Shepherd in Himalayas, after leaving a high profile professional career 6-years back has become a story of inspiration. LPD multi-city event is a tribute to the Magnificent Pashmina Goats and the Authentic Communities at the root of this beautiful Eco-System that live in the higher Himalayas and supply the most sort after luxury fabric, the Finest Pashmina to the world. He is also a proud recipient of the Shri. Rabindranath Tagore Award, Dr. B R Ambedkar Award, Rajiv Gandhi Excellence Award, The Karmaveer Chakra instituted with UN and Bharat Gaurav Award. He is also a three times TEDx Speaker, a WIRED Innovation Fellow (UK) and REX Global Fellow (UN). Babar is also a TED Residency NY Finalist and a WIRED Speaker.
Babar thanked the supporters and partners for the LPD Series which include Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Directorate of Industries & Commerce, Directorate of Tourism, Directorate of Handicrafts, Directorate of Handlooms, Safa Valley Project, Radisson Blu and others for extending their support to this global initiative. He communicated his special thanks to Chief Secretary, Commissioner Secretary Industries & Commerce, Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Principal Secretary to the CM, Secretary JKAACL, Grand Daughter of Maharaja Hari Singh who not only encouraged the initiative but also extended full support to make a meaningful impact in the Pashmina Industry of J&K.