How is Cashmere Made?

 How Cashmere is Made

So, you’re curious about how cashmere is made? When you’re interested in purchasing cashmere for the first time, you may be unsure as to why it’s so expensive - what’s the big deal about cashmere!? Well, you’ve come to the right place as we are about to cover all you need to know to have a better understanding and appreciation for cashmere, its production, and its history.

This blog post will discuss everything you need to know to have a basic understanding of:

  • What is cashmere?
  • A brief history of cashmere
  • How is cashmere clothing made?
  • Why is cashmere so expensive?
  • Some interesting facts about cashmere

Let’s get into learning about cashmere; one of the most light, beautiful, luxurious natural fabrics. It is extremely breathable and very comfortable.

What is Cashmere?

Cashmere is a type of wool that comes from cashmere goats. These goats come from Asian areas such as Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, Northern India, Southwest China, Iran, and Afghanistan. The original spelling of cashmere is Kashmir, this is the region of North India that still makes cashmere.

Cashmere is known for its lightness, warmth, and softness. lt is three times more insulating than sheep wool. Also, the cashmere fibers are delicate and very fine and when you touch them, they feel softer than silk.

These luxury fibers come from Kashmir goats. There are other types of fibers which come from different goats and are also used. This is because cashmere is often mixed with other wool to give it some weight as the pure cashmere fibers are thin, lightweight, and very fine. However, pure cashmere garments are also created. These are all different in quality and price.

History of Cashmere

For thousands of years, cashmere has been produced in Kashmir, Nepal, and Mongolia. This fiber is also known as ‘pashmina’ which is a Persian/Urdu word inspired by the Persian word 'pashm' which means wool.

Even though different breeds of goats can grow an undercoat that can be spun into wool. Cashmere wool is different as it's from a fine-haired breed known as the Hircus Blythi Goat. As this might be hard to remember and say the Persian/Urdu-inspired name ‘pashmina goat’ is often used instead.

Cashmere wool is also sold as pashmina wool as both terms are viewed the same in many parts of the world. However, in actual fact pashmina comes from a special breed of mountain goats called Capra Hircus. Pashmina is more delicate, lightweight, and softer. It also requires to be manually woven. Pashmina is a higher quality of Cashmere.

How is Cashmere Clothing Made?

Part 1 - Gathering

The process of gathering the wool from the pashmina goats is time consuming, arduous and a time-sensitive process. These goats grow a double fleece that creates the downy undercoat, which during the winter helps them stay insulated and warm. When spring arrives, the goats begin to shed the fleece.

The traditional approach of hand-combing the fleece to get both the down and guard hairs is still used today and is preferred as it produces better yield of cashmere wool. The hand-combing of a pashmina goat can take up to two weeks to remove all the down from the undercoat.

Part 2 - Refining

Before the wool can be dyed, spun, and woven into clothing, the cashmere wool needs to be cleaned. This will remove any dirt or debris and any raw fiber or excess animal oils. It is very common to have industrial machines do the hard work of washing and dyeing instead of doing it by hand. After it has been cleaned, it is then dyed in large batches into many different colors.

The dyed clumps of cashmere wool is then processed through a multi-step procedure which webs it together into thin and flossy sheets which are then transformed into spools of yarn. This is referred to as slubbing.

Part 3 - Spinning

A spinning mule is a machine that can handle multiple spools of the cashmere slubbing and quickly turn them into yarn of different thickness so that it can be wound onto a cone for its final quality check. From this point it is cashmere wool yarn that can be weaved into many different clothing items such as a sweater or scarf for example.

Why is Cashmere so Expensive?

Known for its softness, warmth, lightness, and breathable quality – cashmere is very desirable for any fall and winter wardrobe. Better quality cashmere is also elastic and durable and will hold its shape over time. So, you will be able to enjoy its high quality and warmth for many years.

In addition to these qualities, the complex, time consuming, time sensitive, and labor-intensive process of creating cashmere makes the material expensive. It is common to see cashmere sweaters in luxury retail stores priced in the hundreds and even thousands of dollars. The price may vary according to the type of cashmere and how it was produced and manufactured.

Interesting Facts about Cashmere

  • Cashmere doesn’t fade or stretch so if you take care of it properly it will keep its shape for many years.
  • It is said to be 6 times finer than human hair, however it is dense, and it will keep you warm in extreme weathers.
  • Cashmere should only be washed by hand but if it is stained, you can take it to a dry cleaner to remove the stain.
  • Cashmere is said to be 3 times more insulating than sheep wool.
  • It takes anywhere between 3 to 5 goats to make an average sweater and possibly more for larger garments like coats etc.

Final Thoughts

Cashmere wool is one of the most luxurious natural fabrics. It is light, soft to the touch and amazingly comfortable to wear. It wears beautifully and looks very stylish. It is unmistakable quality and luxury. Comfort and style combined wonderfully. Everyone deserves a few luxury items in their wardrobe. Spoil yourself or a loved one with a gift of a cashmere garment.

Which of our Imperial Cashmere pieces will you be adding to your closet? Let us know in the comments below!

Pure cashmere gloves

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