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How Your Cashmere Is Made
One of the rarest natural fibers in the world, cashmere's not a wool but a hair, which accounts for its unmistakable feel. With fast-fashion chains such as Uniqlo and Joe Fresh selling discount product in bulk, it's hard to tell the good stuff from the junk
Where It’s From
Most cashmere comes from goats in the Gobi Desert, which stretches from Northern China into Mongolia. Beneath the animals’ coarse hair lies an undercoat of superfine fibers concentrated on the underbelly. In May and June, when the goats molt, local workers comb the belly hair, sort it by hand, and send it to a dehairing facility (usually in China) to be cleaned and refined. Then it’s baled and delivered to Europe, where it’s spun into fine yarn and sold to designers for roughly $114 a pound. With adequate supplies of top-notch raw materials becoming scarce in Asia, Afghanistan has become an unlikely exporter: The country is rich in unadulterated product. As China increasingly blends different qualities of cashmere to achieve volume, Afghan goat farmers are filling the demand for completely pure knits.
Why is Cashmere better than wool?
Warmth – Its insulation capacity is three times higher than wool (up to eight times for the very best cashmere), making it perfect for maintaining your body temperature. The result is a yarn that keeps you warm but not hot.
Softness – The diameter of cashmere fibres is very small, creating a very fine texture, the softest of all yarns.
No itchiness – For the same reason, the density of fibres are much higher than wool, and therefore the texture is not scratchy. This gives a great feeling when wearing cashmere directly on the skin or when touching a jumper.
Lightness – Given its insulating qualities, cashmere jumpers can be lighter than those made of wool and still keep perfect body temperature.
Woolen cashmere series are the best sustainable and renewable fibre with virtues to protect the user from the surrounding rudiments. Be it knit or woven, woolen fibres make long lasting apparels. Fibres from these garments will not peel and will retain its form for many years, even for generations. Not every goat is cashmere, and this is what makes pashmina cashmere wool a unique and valuable fibre. More than 3000 tons of cashmere is made every year with the majority of them from Mongolia, followed by Australia, New Zealand, Iran, and Afghanistan.
In todays environment, customers are becoming major advocates of the back-story principle. They want to be informed about the story behind the stuff they purchase. If the companies are transparent about their manufacturing processes and principles, they are satisfied that they are buying an ethical product. They want to wear cashmere fabrics in a way that fits their style, budget, and conscience.
Swiss consumers buy more of cashmere fabrics, but also increasingly question how it is being produced. Imports of cashmere into Switzerland have increased drastically, during the recent past. Worsted cashmere series are made from non-allergenic natural goat fibres. They are animal-friendly, sustainable, and do not wrinkle. They posses durability with little or no pilling, and becomes softer with the age. The finest quality of cashmere fabrics are based on the purity of the yarn and tightness of the knit. Longer strands give the garment a flatter and tighter feel. The quality of the fabric gets enhanced with the strands getting fuller and softer with every wash.
Price of Wales, Prince Charles has launched a campaign for promoting consumer awareness of wool stating it, a natural and sustainable fibre. As per the campaign, the company which makes products with more than 50% of its content in wool will be using their logo and promotional material.
The luxurious fibres from the pashmina goats have inspired many designers, and are preferred by consumers who are luxury lovers. With all the exposure of ecological living, sustainable cashmere fabrics are sought by consumers who want to own luxurious clothing line and also remain eco-chic.