ABOUT US


Cotton drying in the sun. Kerala, India


A SHAWL WITH A STORY...

Our shawls are created by hand with centuries of tradition behind them. There's nothing mass produced here - and it shows in the quality. Each shawl bears the hallmark of individual care and attention. Even our Ahimsa silk-worms are respected - they're allowed to leave their cocoons alive before the silk is harvested. Every asunsti shawl has a different story to tell but all reflect our passion - to combine the beauty of natural materials with ethical small-scale production.

OUR NAME
asunsti is an anagram of the word ‘sustain’. At its heart lies the Kashmiri word ‘asun’, meaning ‘smile’ or ‘be happy’. This is what asunsti is all about – it’s what we share with craftsmen and women, properly and sustainably paid for their skills – and with you, as you wear the fruits of generations of talented weavers and embroiderers.

SUSTAINING COMMUNITIES
asunsti shawls are made predominantly by women, working co-operatively. Many have formed supportive groups, sharing traditional techniques and teaching new generations the skills of hand-working. asunsti opposes child labour and with its partners monitors production stringently.
OUR STORY
KATE, FOUNDER ASUNSTI
"I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively, initially for an airline and later just for pleasure. A love of travel remains with me today and has opened my eyes to an amazing world, full of unique and beautiful textiles.  An interest developed around pieces which had been traditionally hand-crafted, using skills passed down through generations. The amazing skills of artisans have shown me a uniqueness and quality that mass-manufactured pieces just do not offer.
Wonderful family years intervened, and clipped my wings somewhat. However two children, and two grandchildren later, I decided that my interest could be transformed into a small business venture and asunsti began.
Of great importance to me in all this is the way these beautiful and unique items are sourced.  Artisans are paid a fair wage, and can make a sustainable income. Quality is never compromised.
My many travels have made me aware of the many inequalities shown to women throughout the world, so where possible we buy from women and women’s co-operatives, and organisations  which show equality in employment.
We hope you will love and enjoy our wonderful shawls and their stories."


JULIETTE

"I've had love and admiration for hand-made textiles from a young age, when I saw carpets hand-woven on giant wooden looms in Turkey.  As I traveled a little later in life, I discovered how, although similar hand-production methods were used across the world, the designs varied hugely and are intrinsic to each culture. 

On a recent trip in Tanzania, I was introduced to a group of six women who had worked as independent tailors for years, never earning enough to improve their standard of living. But three years before, they had pulled their resources together to create ‘Tunaweza’ (We can), a women’s sewing co-operative. Their success, and immediate benefits to their communities, were an inspiration to me, and the sustainable-nature of their business encouraged me to want to be a part of something similar, at least where ethical-production and fair wages were at its core."