x
Send Your Inquiry Today
Quick Quote

Awakening the World of Luxury: What is Cashmere?

When you’re on the hunt for cozy clothing and textiles in the chilly winter months, your mind likely turns to the warmth of cashmere and wool. Cashmere is a distinct type of wool that boasts a unique texture and exceptional insulation. However, you might be concerned about its suitability and whether it could trigger allergies or other problems. This guide will offer you a thorough exploration of cashmere, immersing you in the captivating realm of this opulent fiber.

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere is often called the “fiber of kings” due to its exceptional qualities. This natural fiber is derived from Cashmere goats, renowned for producing this luxurious material. Cashmere boasts unmatched softness and a unique hollow structure that combines excellent insulation with a lightweight and breathable nature.

It provides both comfort and warmth in cold climates, while its exceptional breathability helps alleviate discomfort caused by sweating in warmer temperatures. Within the fashion industry, cashmere is highly coveted. It enables you to achieve timeless elegance effortlessly. Thanks to its durability, cashmere can become a valuable and long-lasting addition to your wardrobe.

The Brief History of Cashmere

As early as 6,000 years ago on the Anatolian Peninsula (Asia Minor), people began utilizing sheep’s wool to combat the cold, and some even employed it as decorative adornment. 

During China’s ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), individuals wove fabric using the soft hair of goats, specifically focusing on the inner hair of these animals. In the renowned book “Tiangong Kaiwu” by the Ming Dynasty scientist Song Yingxing, an entire section is dedicated to the production of cashmere fabric.

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the people of the Kashmir region discovered the exquisite nature of cashmere and utilized it to craft exquisite shawls. The remarkable softness and delicate texture of cashmere captured the world’s attention, leading to its official designation as “cashmere.” India commenced large-scale production of this precious fiber.

In the late 19th century, Scottish manufacturer Joseph Dawson revolutionized sorting methods, thereby enhancing the purity of cashmere. Presently, China has emerged as the primary global producer of cashmere, accounting for 80% of the world’s production. The allure of cashmere endures as people continue to pursue the fashion it brings.

What is Cashmere Made from?

Kashmir Goats

Cashmere is crafted from a fine fiber with a diameter of less than 19 microns, sourced from Kashmir goats. These goats primarily inhabit regions with notable temperature variations, such as China and Mongolia. 

Their wool possesses unique qualities due to the distinct climate conditions. Beneath the outer layer of hair that shields them from wind and rain, lies a soft undercoat that provides warmth. This exquisite undercoat is carefully collected and transformed into a luxurious cashmere.

How is Cashmere Made?

The production process of cashmere is closely that of wool. It encompasses seven essential steps: shearing, sorting, cleaning, combing, spinning, dyeing, and weaving.

When spring comes, skilled workers shear the full year’s growth of wool, mainly from the neck and underbelly of the goats. The collected raw materials are then meticulously sorted according to fiber quality. They undergo thorough washing to remove impurities. Combing makes the coarse guard hairs separated from the fine cashmere fibers, ensuring a soft and consistent texture.

Once the fibers are prepared and spun into yarn, they can be dyed if desired. Finally, depending on your preferences and requirements, cashmere can be woven or knitted into a wide range of exquisite products. 

What is the Environmental Impact of Cashmere?

As a natural fiber, the higher the demand for cashmere, the lower the reliance on synthetic fibers. It is widely recognized that synthetic fibers are non-biodegradable and cause irreversible environmental pollution. In contrast, cashmere is a renewable resource, making it an eco-friendly choice.

However, the growing demand for cashmere necessitates the breeding of a significant number of goats. This, in turn, requires expansive grasslands. Yet, goats tend to uproot plants while grazing and are non-selective eaters. Consequently, this leads to severe grassland degradation, exacerbating climate issues. It will set off a chain reaction that affects both humans and animals.

Despite the current emphasis by cashmere businesses on its sustainability, there are challenges in its production and processing. It may impede sustainable development.

What are the Types of Cashmere?

Cashmere can be categorized into various grades based on the quality of the fibers, as described below:

  • Grade A Cashmere: This represents the highest quality and comes with a higher price tag. The fibers are incredibly fine and soft, typically measuring around 15.5 microns in diameter.
  • Grade B Cashmere: The fibers in this grade are slightly coarser than Grade A, ranging from 15.5 to 16.5 microns in diameter. It still provides good insulation, but due to its less consistent quality, it may feel rougher, resulting in price fluctuations.
  • Grade C Cashmere: This grade features the coarsest fibers but still offers insulation. However, the texture might cause itchiness when worn. Naturally, it is the most affordable option.

In addition to these cashmere grades, there are also different types based on their sources. For instance, there is Pashmina cashmere, which is seven times warmer than regular cashmere. There is also Capra hircus cashmere, which has shorter yet fine fibers.

Regarding origin, Mongolian cashmere is renowned for its exceptional quality, thanks to the favorable climate conditions that yield extraordinarily soft and warm cashmere. Chinese cashmere provides a wide selection of grades to choose from. And Himalayan cashmere boasts fine fibers and outstanding quality. 

What is Cashmere Used for?

Superior in quality, cashmere is generally more expensive, making it a preferred choice for clothing and accessories. While its applications in interior decoration are limited, it is commonly utilized to create items like pillows or blankets. This can enhance the comfort and ambiance of living spaces.

Using high-quality cashmere to craft upscale garments is an excellent decision. Whether it’s a tailored suit or an overcoat, it not only provides insulation against the cold but also adds an element of elegance. Everyday clothing and accessories, including sweaters, scarves, shawls, socks, gloves, and more, are also highly popular.

Cashmere Scarf

The soft and delicate nature of high-grade cashmere makes it gentle on the skin, making it perfect for baby clothing that offers warmth and care. Its versatility extends to daring experimentation and breaking conventions, requiring the power of imagination and design creativity.

The Advantages of Cashmere

Cashmere possesses a gentle, natural luster with even and fine fibers. It has the remarkable ability to fully absorb dyes, resisting fading and exuding a luxurious and beautiful appearance. Moreover, cashmere itself is supple and elastic. When proper care methods are followed, it retains its shape and resists deformation over time.

The hollow fibers of cashmere contribute to its lightweight texture and soft touch while providing excellent insulation. Additionally, cashmere boasts durability and a longer lifespan, making it a worthwhile investment. With its timeless allure, cashmere allows you to emanate elegance. Whether incorporated into clothing or accessories, it significantly elevates your style.

How to Care for Cashmere?

Proper care methods ensure the beauty and longevity of cashmere. It is best to either have it dry cleaned or wash it by hand. Avoid using fabric softeners or harsh chemicals when washing. Gently hand wash the cashmere in cold water using a specialized detergent, rinse thoroughly, and squeeze out excess water. Then lay it flat on a clean towel or drying rack to dry.

Due to the unique nature of cashmere fibers, pilling is a common occurrence. You can use a cashmere comb or a fabric shaver specifically designed to remove pills from the surface. run the tool gently over the fabric. Cashmere does not need to be washed frequently, as this helps preserve the natural oils in the fibers and prevents unnecessary wear.

When storing cashmere, refrain from hanging it in the closet, as it can cause the garment to lose its shape. Instead, fold and store it in a dry and cool environment. You can consider using moth repellents or sachets to ward off insects. By following these recommendations, you can protect your precious cashmere and enjoy its companionship for an extended period.

Why is Cashmere so Expensive?

The production of cashmere is relatively scarce. It comes from the undercoat of goats, and each goat produces a limited amount of usable fiber, primarily sourced from the neck and lower abdomen. To produce high-quality cashmere, specific breeds like Cashmere goats can only be raised in harsh climates. This scarcity contributes to the increased price.

The entire process of cashmere production consumes a significant amount of energy. It also requires skilled workers and meticulous craftsmanship for tasks such as shearing, sorting, and cleaning the cashmere. These factors significantly contribute to the production costs of cashmere.

Cashmere offers an incredible combination of finesse, softness, and luxury, which justifies the higher price. Moreover, it is highly durable, making its long-term price reasonable.

How to Pick a Great Cashmere?

You may be in the process of selecting high-quality cashmere for your next project or looking to purchase a premium cashmere product for yourself. So, how exactly should you go about choosing? The following information will provide the answers you seek.

First, it is important to check the label of the cashmere product. The label contains valuable information. It is crucial to look for the “100% Cashmere” label to avoid any confusion with blended materials.

Additionally, you can inquire about the source, type, length, and thickness of the cashmere fibers. The quality of cashmere is greatly influenced by the region where the goats are raised. There are differences in the quality of cashmere produced in China, but the prices tend to be more affordable. This allows you to save money while still obtaining decent cashmere.

Cashmere fibers can be either virgin or recycled. Recycled cashmere is made from reclaimed garments or other cashmere products. It follows sustainable principles, but its quality and durability may not be as good as virgin cashmere.

From a technical standpoint, fiber length and thickness are crucial factors affecting cashmere quality. Longer and finer fibers produce a more uniform and dense surface, making the cashmere more durable. On the other hand, products made from coarse and short fibers tend to be rougher.

Next, observe the color of the cashmere. Natural, undyed fibers have a genuinely organic hue, highlighting the luxurious quality of cashmere. Cashmere has excellent colorfastness and does not easily fade. It also exhibits a soft sheen, but it should not be overly reflective. If you notice a highly reflective surface, it is likely not genuine cashmere.

After observing, use your hands to feel the cashmere. It should feel incredibly soft, warm, and lightweight. However, this doesn’t mean it should be excessively thin, as overly thin cashmere can be prone to damage.

The safest approach is to choose responsible manufacturers or retailers. Or you can look for certified cashmere products, such as the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA) Sustainable Cashmere Standard or the Kering Standard.

Cashmere vs Wool

Cashmere, although classified as a type of wool, differs from regular wool. Understanding the distinction between cashmere and wool can help you make informed purchasing decisions. Wool is derived from various animals and used to produce fibers. On the other hand, cashmere is specifically made from the undercoat of Cashmere goats. In terms of raw material, it is finer than regular wool. 

Cashmere offers superior warmth and quality compared to regular wool thanks to its finer fibers. These fibers also contribute to its softness and comfort, without causing any itching sensation like wool. If you are seeking clothing that provides both exceptional warmth and comfort, cashmere is an ideal choice.

Wool fibers, although slightly coarser, possess elasticity, making them more durable and easier to care for compared to cashmere. Both cashmere and wool are precious materials that add elegance to your overall appearance. However, due to its rarity, cashmere commands a higher price, while wool serves as a more economical option.

FAQs:

Is Cashmere Itchy?

Unlike regular wool, it does not contain lanolin, which can cause itching. And cashmere is very soft. Some people may experience itching when in direct contact with cashmere, but this could be due to low-quality cashmere or blends with other fibers. If you have sensitive skin, it is advisable to try fabric samples or cashmere garments before making a purchase.

Is Cashmere Vegan?

No, cashmere primarily comes from the hair of goats and is considered an animal byproduct. The harvesting process inevitably causes harm to the goats. If you are looking for vegan alternatives, you can consider synthetic fibers or fabrics made from natural plant fibers.

What Color is Cashmere?

Cashmere is made from the undercoat of goats and comes in various natural colors. It can be white, beige, or brown, depending on the color variations of the goats. After processing, cashmere can be dyed in various colors according to your preferences, accommodating different fashion trends.

Conclusion

Cashmere is a luxurious material that provides unmatched comfort and elegance, surpassing its inherent value. Its timeless appeal ensures enduring style. Sinosilk offers custom silk cashmere scarves. Combining these two exquisite fibers with your exceptional designs will be a new favorite in the fashion world.

More Resources:

What is Wool – Source: Sinosilk

What is Cotton – Source: Sinosilk

What is Blended Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

One Stop Silk Product
customized Solution

Update cookies preferences Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top