All about Cashmere.
Cashmere wool is one of the most beautiful, desired, and valued natural fiber in the world. it is finer, stronger, lighter, softer, and approximately 3 times more insulating from the cold than traditional sheep wool, these make so special the cashmere.
Cashmere wool comes from a very special kind of goat (capra aegagrus hircus) that lives in the Tibetan highlands, in the Himalayas and principally in Mongolia, one of the most inaccessible areas of central Asia and can withstanding very low temperatures as low as -30°C, for this reason this goat develops two fleeces: a fine under fleece or under down, and a coarser outer coating (guard hair). The cashmere wool for clothes is obtained from the neck and underbelly of the goat. To retrieve the under down, it must first be separated from the guard hairs before they can be further processed. Its name is taken from the Indo-Pakistani region of Kashmir because in the begin the cashmere wool was processed in the region of Kashmir.
The production process is fascinating and begins when the goat naturally sheds its winter coat in spring. This is not sheared but is carded to obtain a longer hair. how longer it is, how better the garment that will be born. Once the wool is collected, the bundles are separated by thickness and color.
Why is cashmere wool different from sheep wool?
Sheep wool comes from the domestic sheep. It is the most common and drives away the cold in freezing winters. Its production is wide and easy to get. It absorbs moisture and has a repellent surface. If it is not mixed with some other fiber it is a little bit rough to the touch.
The best cashmere wool is obtained from Himalayan goats. It is in this magical enclave, of nomads and shepherds, where we find the longest-haired goats with the highest quality fiber. How long is the hair, the fiber is stronger, warmer, lighter and the best thermal insulator, a delight for the senses, which the cashmere lover knows how to appreciate. It takes four years to obtain, from a single goat, the white cashmere that makes it possible to make a sweater without the wool even having to be dyed. In fact, since 1987, Ermenegildo Zegna finances the community that achieves the most sublime cashmere: the so-called white. The others must be dyed because they do not have the adequate pigmentation. In addition to its whiteness, the fiber is more expensive how longer and smaller its diameter. Another important factor that affects its price is the treatment of wool: with several hundred years of experience, Scottish and Italian manufacturing is superior to Chinese, where 60 percent of the world’s cashmere comes from. The quality of the cashmere is influenced by several factors, in addition to the geographical one. On the one hand, the handcrafted collection. In spring, when goats shed their hair, the shepherds comb them with their combs to extract the wool, separating fine, tangled hair like gum from the dirt and wisps of vegetation it carries. In Iran, New Zealand, or Australia, instead of combing them, they shear them. Due to this rougher treatment and because these goats do not graze in their natural ecosystem, the result is a less valuable substitute.
The luxury firms keep the best hair, these have a thickness of scarce 14 microns (human hair is 75) and about 35 millimeters of length. As its coarseness increases, it is destined to products of lower quality and price.
To take care of cashmere garments the most important is to read the label. Some cashmere garments, such as knitted cashmere, only allow dry cleaning. The use of any type of machine (dryer, washing machine …) is generally prohibited. Cashmere garments are washed by hand, very delicately warm water (never hot!) And mild detergent or shampoo. It is advisable not to twist or squeeze the garment in any way. To dry it, we can gently drain the excess water before placing the garment on a clean towel. To continue drying, we will roll the towel with the garment inside, press and unroll until the towel is soaked. We can follow the process with another dry towel. It must be left horizontally, never hang it from a hanger.
A little bit history
Cashmere has been known in Europe since the times of the Roman Empire. It has always been considered a special material and has often been called the “fibre for kings”, one of them was the famous Napoleon, who gifted his wife Josephine pashminas and cashmere scarves. People say that she had hundreds of cashmere shawls. It was also very popular among the wealthy upper classes.
The new era of cashmere in Europe began in the nineteenth century, when pashminas from the Orient became fashionable in Paris. Cashmere has been becoming a popular item in the fashion world. The twentieth century saw increases and decreases in its popularity, while the twenty-first century has seen a rising demand for high quality natural fabrics.
According to the experts, Cashmere is nicknamed “Soft Gold” and “Diamond Fiber” that clearly reverberates the grandiose luxury and wealth inherent in the products manufactured through this wonderful material. Products made from the pure wool of cashmere goats are truly luxurious.
The cashmere garment is a timeless piece that never is going to be out of style, it is warm, sophisticated and you are going to look always fabulous.
Live and enjoy a more chic life.
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