‘A journey of fabric from making to caring’
Luxurious, sleek and soft natural fiber made from goat skin living in Mongolia and China is one of the highest rated fabrics in the world. From early Roman Empire to today, cashmere fabric has signified beauty, grace, elegance and wealth. Derived from ‘Kashmir,’ cashmere is knitted and woven by 50,000 skilled craftsmen in the region. About 10,000 to 12,000 tons of cashmere is produced annually all over the world. The largest finished goods production of cashmere fabric comes from China, which accounts for 70% of world production.
Transforming goat wool into luxurious fabric
In spring, shepherds start the process of combing the precious fleece from their goats. A goat typically produces 50-80 grams of processed cashmere. The raw fleece is then sorted in three colors – white, grey and brown. The fleece is treated to remove dust and then washed. By this time, the weight of the raw fleece is reduced almost by 50%. The fabric obtained is considered to be of top quality.
The fabric is then woven into different products, the most famous being a sweater. Typically, a single cashmere sweater consumes wool equivalent to five goats.
Where did it all begin?
This lush, soft and downy material was first woven in the northwestern region of the subcontinent. Known as the ‘yarn of kings’ it is the world’s most finest and luxurious fabric. Truly fitting its name, it could only be afforded by royalty. Geographically, cashmere goats live in the high Asian plateaus near the Chinese provinces of Tibet and Mongolia. The weaving started in the 11th century from Kashmir where shawls of the fabric were woven. When the Romans invaded the subcontinent, they couldn’t resist indulging in the pleasures of the soft cashmere fabric. Napoleon started a cashmere fashion fiesta, when he gifted his wife, Empress Eugenie, seventeen cashmere shawls. Legend has it that the cashmere fabric was so soft and lightweight that it could be drawn through a ring.
The English were not far behind the Romans. In the Victorian era, the use of cashmere for sweaters, suits and shawls became a fad for the upper echelons. Since then, it has remained high in demand by the high society.
The basic cashmere producing areas remained in the East such as the Himalayan region and China. The production was not commercial until the end of 19th century. In this era, Scottish inventor Joseph Dawson invented a machine that could delicately remove the fabric from coarse hair much faster than manual labor. Thus commercial production started making Scotland as the commercial centre for cashmere fabric.
With the advent of the 21st century, the center moved back to China which was the original cashmere producing area. China is now the largest cashmere products producer in the world.
An expensive collector’s item
So what is it that makes this fabric crème de la crème? What makes it so expensive? Why does every trendsetter have a cashmere product in their wardrobe?
It is the breeding of cashmere goats, the exiguity of raw wool, processing and hand-making the finest quality fabric that makes it an expensive collector’s item.
Cashmere fabric products
In the early days, cashmere was used for sweaters and gloves. As time passed and new clothing trends emerged, cashmere was used to produce scarves, socks, bags and other apparel.
Taking care of cashmere products
Many people believe taking care of cashmere clothing is hard. The matter of fact is that cashmere clothing needs to be handled with care. Cashmere apparel can only be hand-washed or dry-cleaned. This will leave your clothes soft and enjoyable for a long time. Cashmere is actually a low maintenance fabric if you follow two simple steps:
Follow these two steps and you can enjoy the elegant and luxurious wool that is cashmere.
Cashmere has always enjoyed the place of a premium cachet in the world of fashion. Its extravagant natural softness and warmth gives its owner a rare and sensuous appeal that no other fabric can match. With an unparalleled soft feel, one touch can take you in a luxurious world full of warm and cozy feelings.