Delicious softness - The Pretty Pash Co.
With the evenings beginning to draw in and a nip in the morning air we can’t be the only ones that are beginning to think about how to keep cosy as we head into the glorious autumn months. We confess to an obsession with finding the softest, most luxurious pashminas and scarves for our own prodigious collections, and we were delighted to find a British, family-owned brand that offers a range of gorgeous, super quality pashminas and scarves in a variety of beautiful shades. An added bonus, and a welcome change from the norm, is that each purchase comes beautifully wrapped and boxed, making receiving a pashmina or scarf from The Pretty Pash Co. a real event.
Based predominantly in the West Country, The Pretty Pash Co. is a real family affair, being owned and run by mother-daughter(s) team Jayne, Liz and Jess. Jayne, a former textiles teacher, heads up quality control (ably assisted by Casper the cat, of which more later…) but Liz and Jess are also central to running the business with each sister specialising in different aspects of the business. The men of the family are not left out however, and often find themselves volunteered for anything from making a display stand to babysitting, and Liz cites the strong family bond and differing talents of its members as key to The Pretty Pash Co’s success so far.
The idea for the business came about as a result of comments from family members along the lines of ‘another one?! You could start a shop!’ after yet another new pashmina purchase, and a feeling that it was so much easier to find quality pashminas abroad than in the UK. While waiting for the Northern Lights to appear on a holiday to Lapland, the business plan was finalised and The Pretty Pash Co. has recently celebrated its first full year of trading.
As any goat-fancier will tell you, there aren’t too many cashmere-producing goats living in Britain so the team at The Pretty Pash Co. search far and wide to bring us the very best quality products, mixing business with pleasure by meeting suppliers while on holiday to such exotic destinations as Turkey, Burma and Nepal. Where possible, the Pretty Pash Co. looks to only use suppliers that produce the scarves ethically, and as the business grows will actively look to work only with such suppliers.
Once a sample scarf or piece of material is received from a supplier, it goes under rigorous testing to ensure it’s of the highest quality. The Pretty Pash Co. uses a variety of techniques to do this, from burning the material to check that a silk sample is authentic (rather than a synthetic substitute) to employing Casper the family cat to test out the cashmere samples. His method is simple – unable to resist a good chew of the finest cashmere, he will eat his way through any amount of plastic packaging to get at the top quality cashmere, with his enthusiasm waning as the quality of the sample material decreases.
The Pretty Pash Co. offers a range of pashminas and scarves to suit a range of tastes and purses, and we’ve found a few real standouts that we would love to wrap around our necks as the temperature drops. First up is the (anything but) Plain Jayne in the most gorgeous shade of apricot. Produced by hand in a Nepalese factory that prides itself on its ethical practices, this pashmina is perfect for adding the finishing touch to a look full of autumn hues, and we love the statement that this plain colour can make to an outfit.
Up next is the 100% cashmere, handwoven Fancy Nancy lightweight pashmina, which has a beautiful blend of lilac, blush pink, lavender and soft grey, creating a pretty pastel look as a whole while also enabling the wearer to create different looks by rolling or folding the pashmina in different ways. This is perfect for those of us that are (trying to) embrace the capsule wardrobe, and the lightweight weave of the pashmina is like wrapping yourself in a warm, fluffy cloud of softness.
For those after something a little smarter, we looked no further than the Silken Sophie in a pale blue and muted gold reversible colourway. This gorgeous 100% silk heavyweight jacquard provides the luxurious finishing touch to everything from a classic office outfit to an evening ensemble. As with the Fancy Nancy scarf mentioned above, there are several different possible looks from this scarf depending on how it is worn, even working as an evening wrap. It’s a scarf that is truly season-less, working just as well in June as it does in December.
Finally, for those embracing The Pretty Pash Co’s love of colour, we come to the Plain Jayne in a deep burgundy and rich teal ombre. Made from Grade A cashmere and silk (in the 70%/30% ratio common to most luxury pashminas, giving the warmth of cashmere but the strength of silk), we love this unusual colour combination and can see it working with a number of striking and cosy looks over the cooler months.
With both a thriving website and Etsy shop, where can you see The Pretty Pash Co’s products in person? As both Jayne and Jess are based in Devon, you will be able to visit them at Exeter’s central market every weekend from late November through to the end of the year as well as at the Christmas Fayre at Exeter’s Westpoint. For those of us based in the ‘big smoke’, there are plans to exhibit at the Chelsea Christmas Gift Fayre and at the pop-up market in St Pauls’ Paternoster Square. In our opinion it's worth seeing these beautiful scarves and pashminas in person if you can as they have to be seen (and touched) to be believed.