Making arts and crafts more worthwhile than violence
We encourage people in conflict areas to forge a peaceful future.
Our name says it all: "Protsaah" is derived from Sanskrit "protsahan," which means "to encourage." As a socially conscious, ethical fashion brand, we work exclusively with groups affected by violence and instability - worldwide. Each piece of jewellery, each item tells an encouraging story of all who have contributed to it. You can read them on the corresponding website, and we'll be happy to keep you up to date with news in our newsletter. In this way, we help to ensure that those affected are not forgotten.
Learn more about the stories behind our collections
They are given the opportunity to cultivate traditional art skills under fair conditions. In the midst of war, flight and violence, they can create beauty and participate as whole persons.
Currently, people in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Kashmir, Rwanda and Tibet create the high-quality crafted pieces in our collections. We also work with projects that benefit refugees from Syria.
Valuing the artisanal process more highly than industrial mass production - we consistently follow this philosophy. This is what we mean by sustainable luxury. This is how we help drive the "Slow Fashion" movement from our headquarters in Zurich.
The inspiration: How it all began
Grüezi, I am Saloni Duggal Shrestha, founder and storyteller. I love design, art and people. My vagabond mind has taken me through many winding alleys to enchanting lands and given me a thousand stories.
The story of a young Kashmiri weaver in India will stay with me forever. This encounter was the deeply moving moment that made me found the social enterprise Protsaah.
For six decades, the Kashmir region of India has been one of the most dangerous areas in the world. The conflict on the ground has earned the dubious world record of being among the longest-running.
"Financially, it pays more to be a terrorist than an artisan at this loom"
The young weaver who uttered this momentous sentence so dryly and matter-of-factly was perhaps in his mid-twenties. Over a cup of hot kahwa - a spiced green tea typical of the region - we had been talking about life in Kashmir.
That hurt! Not even an hour earlier, I clueless one had been haggling over every scarf. It was less about the price: for me, haggling was half the pleasure of shopping! And yet I knew that the negotiated price would not even be enough for a week's worth of groceries, and that the scarf had taken at least six weeks to make. My guilt and naiveté rushed hot and cold over my skin. It was only after what felt like an eternity that the die-hard optimist in me spoke up. There had to be a way to help this young man - and all the other people in similar situations.
But first I had to understand the inconceivable:
How could it be that weaving pashmina - the most precious wool in the world - was not more lucrative than killing his conscience and his fellow human beings?
He had a sobering answer to that, too. "Well, there is always cheaper, machine-made pashminan from neighbouring countries. Who cares about the art of crafting them or the people who make them?"
In that moment, Protsaah's "Gulmarg" collection was born: socially responsible, authentic, handmade pashmina/cashmere shawls - ethically made in her birthplace in the Srinagar Valley.
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