What is cashmere?
We all know it’s the most beautiful, finest and softest yarn, but where does it come from and what is it made of? The word Cashmere derives from ‘Kashmir’ - the region of North West India from where this incredible fabric originates.
Cashmere is a type of wool, gathered from the soft undercoat of specific breeds of goat. Due to the harsh weather in central asia where they now tend to come from, they have a double fleece. We like the sound of that! It consists of a fine outerwear layer of wool to protect them against the elements, and a much thicker bottom layer made of ultra fine hairs with amazing insulating properties. These fibres are used to create yarns and consequently, the premium knitted fabric we know and love.
It can take up to four years for a goat to produce enough wool for a single jumper, and the process of gathering the wool can be labour intensive, so it’s easy to see why it is considered the most superior fabric - a true luxury! This superior fiber is said to be 8 times warmer than sheep's wool.
Cashmere has different grades of quality, depending on where on the goat it is taken from – the throat and under belly yield the softest wool, so yarn made from these fibres is particularly special.
Despite it’s soft nature, this material is incredibly durable. When looked after correctly it can last for years and decades.
What to look for when purchasing cashmere?
Firstly, check it is 100% cashmere and not a blend. Premium cashmere comes with a price tag, but it is made to last. It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer so will offer great value per wear if it is well cared for properly.
How to care for cashmere
Luxurious cashmere demands to be worn and enjoyed, but as cashmere fibres are more delicate than other wools, knowing how to look after your precious pieces is important. Read our post on how to care for cashmere here. Owing to it’s fine nature, it will pill, especially where friction occurs so be try to carry your handbag in different ways - dans le main, tucked into the elbow, across the body or slung over your shoulder - all chic! You can remove any pilling with a cashmere comb.
Your cashmere will need to be hand washed in cold water, using a mild detergent. Don’t use a washing machine! Gently press it into a towel to soak up extra water and then let it air dry, although don’t hang it or it will lose its shape - the fibers are most delicate when wet so it’s important to put time into washing it. It’s a breathable material so it doesn't need regular washing. To iron, make sure you have a cloth as a divider and set the iron to a low temperature.
How to store cashmere?
Cashmere should be folded, as when hung it can lose its shape. If you aren’t going to be using your garments for a long time, make sure they are in a dust bag to protect them from moths! Nylon can damage cashmere fibres, so avoid contact. A seatbelt is an example of Nylon.
How to wear cashmere?
Wear it with pride! Honour the process and craftsmanship that goes into creating cashmere by wearing it regularly but sparingly, and caring for it artfully. Wear it over a pair of skinny trousers when you're after comfy, cosy chic. Pair with a leather midi skirt or leather trousers for a slightly more elevated look that will serve you from day to night, or layer a cashmere vest top with a silk shirt for a look that oozes glamour.
As Brunello Cucinelli said, ‘a cashmere knit is like a book. It is something to save and go back to time after time. It is the feeling of an embrace.’
Shop our Cashmere here.