Women's Culture Accessories(82 items)
Welcome to NOVICA's Women's Culture Accessories Collection designed and crafted for you by talented artisans worldwide.
The Village Council
Your answers straight from the village experts
Hand-washing and dry cleaning are the most common ways to care for and clean shawls. Many of our alpaca shawls specifically indicate dry-cleaning or hand-washing with cold water. Because shawls are delicate, a garment bag is a good way to prevent damage. Avoid direct sunlight and high heat. As always, it is important to follow the care instructions specific to the fabric of your shawl.
The great thing about shawls is that they are versatile. One can find a shawl for every season. Warmth is often based on the tightness of the weave and the type of material used. Alpaca fiber is known for its thermal capacity and provides an optimal degree of warmth. Sheep wool also acts as an insulator, absorbing moisture and creating a feeling of coziness for the wearer. Shawls made of cashmere and pashmina are light and thin, yet still provide a high degree of warmth. In Mexico, shawls made from San Juan Chamula sheep keep one warm and comfortable.
Comfort is always a question of preference, but certain fabrics lend themselves to softness and warmth. Shawls from the Andes are made from super soft alpaca fibers, and provide wearers a high level of comfort. Similarly, in Thailand and Bali, silk shawls are always favorites. Depending on ones climate, particular shawls may be preferable. Central American shawls made from cotton and rayon keep wearers cool in warm climates, whereas bamboo and acrylic shawls are great for cold weather. During hot summers, Indian shawls made of modal, silk, and viscose are a perfect option, and merino wool and cashmere are ideal for winter. West Africa stands by the luxurious comfort of their 100% cotton shawls, and Mexico prioritizes comfort with their beautiful wool designs.
It depends on what you mean by handmade. We support artisans who work in the ancient traditions of their ancestors, crafting items by hand, with patience and love. But techniques vary among shawl makers. Embroidery, hand-painting, stitching, and sewing are often part of the process. Some artisans do use power looms when crafting their shawls, but even in those instances, there is no mega-factory or mass production line behind the garment. The beauty, creativity, and inspiration for each shawl comes from the artists own heart. Our product descriptions will always specify if an item is hand-woven, hand-knit, or otherwise.
The shawl comes to us full of history, culture, and heritage. Each region invests its shawls with different symbols, patterns, and designs. Some shawls, like those in West Africa and the Andes, feature linear and geometric shapes, clean lines and patterns that have been passed down through the centuries. In Bali, we find elaborate batik designs, a technique that makes use of alternating dye and wax to block color. In Central America, embroidered and woven shawls incorporate designs inspired by corn, butterflies, and birds. Floral patterns are very popular in Indian shawls, particularly in pashminas from Kashmir. Gujarati shawls often depict geometric shapes, and artisans increasingly incorporate contemporary designs through hand-painted fabric. Thailand also integrates floral patterning, often using the yok dok technique, a brocade style that leaves the fabric slightly raised. This emphasis on brocade is also evident in Mexican shawls, with lavish designs in the form of frets, flowers and geometric figures, all inspired by pre-Hispanic cultures.
Fibers, dyes, and fabrics come together in innovative, unique ways during the creation of a shawl. Different regions rely on resources that are readily available and have cultural significance. In West Africa, 100% cotton and rayon frequently make their appearances in shawls. In Bali and Thailand, soft silk lends a luxuriousness to the shawl. Central American artisans incorporate bamboo rayon, while India makes use of wool and silk. Mexico boasts an array of vibrant natural and cotton yarn dyes, and artisans from the Andes weave shawls out of soft alpaca fiber.
Throughout the world, the shawl is considered a venerated garment, made by hand from techniques passed down through generations. The methods for making traditional shawls vary as widely as the regions from which they come. But most employ some method of hand knitting or weaving on a loom. In the Andes, for example, crocheting and flat weaving on a treadle loom are common techniques. In Central America, backstrap and foot looms are popular with artisans. In Bali, one finds intricate sewing, in addition to weaving. And in India and Thailand, practices of hand-painting fabric, batik, and the use of natural dyes are intimately tied to the creation of shawls.
Featured Reviews on Women's Culture Accessories
This year is a little different and masks were an appropriate gift. The colors are vibrant and the pieces are very well made.
Comfortable and pretty
These masks have worked well for me. I am able to use them on walks and after several washings, they are still holding up well. I like how they look and fit.
Should have bought these earlier!
I am all about style and fabric in clothing and these are well made and look beautiful. They cover better than the standard masks and I feel like I can coordinate them with my outfits. Be safe and look good at the same time. My husband has already stolen one of them!
Robert Aidoo-Taylor Wood carvings and jewelry
"I am a self-taught artist. I never took any classes or attended courses... I enjoy working alone, and my inspiration comes from nature."
“In 2009, I joined NOVICA. I am a jewelry artisan.
“A lot has changed since I joined this wonderful institution. I joined as a bracelet maker, but the kind of guidance I had from NOVICA helped me to widen my imagination. To a large extent, my finances... read more
Popular Women's Culture Accessories
3 Cotton Phulkari Folk Embroidery 3-Layer Pleated Masks, "Phulkari Triangles"$23.99
Multicolored triangles grace a trio of pleated cotton face masks — one in navy blue and two in ivory. From Asha Prabha, they showcase India's phulkari embroidery, done by hand with a darning stitch. Although phulkari denotes floral motifs, it can also apply to geometric patterns. These beautiful masks are triple layered, reusable and washable, with elastic to loop over the ears.
3 Sequin Work Embroidered Cotton 3-Layer Masks from India, "Dazzling Glam"$23.99
Mirror appliqué originated in Persia in the 13th century and remains popular today. Silver sequins emulate India's legendary mirror work on pleated cotton face masks from Asha Prabha. Two black masks feature gold embroidery on one and silver on the other, while red contrasts with a third mask in ivory. They are triple layered, reusable and washable, with elastic to loop over the ears.
3 Reversible Block Print 2-Layer Pleated Cotton Face Masks, "Block Print Arts"$19.99
Warm colors and intricate motifs distinguish these beautiful face masks. Krishna and Sharda showcase India's handmade block printing technique, in use since the 12th century. One shows a pattern of swirling vines in dusty rose on black and is lined with red and pink zigzags on white. Another shows abstract patterns on red and orange stripes that reverse to checks in tangerine and mustard yellow. The third depicts white and green mango paisley on black; its other side shows circles in the same colors. The pleated trio is double layered with elastic ear loops. They can be washed and used again and again.
3 Cotton Print Triple Layer White-Green-Burgundy Face Masks, "Varied Styles"$19.99
By Ritu Agnihotri, cotton print fabrics bring a variety of colors to three classic contoured face masks. Black and burgundy, white and navy, and sage green with black allow a different look for every outing. All are triple layered, washable and reusable, and have elastic to loop over the ears.