Cashmere is an elusive fibre but we are going to attempt to unpack the rich and often misunderstood history of this luxury fibre and help you get to know the Cashmere that we at Mia Fratino, love so dearly.
What is it?
Cashmere is a natural fibre that is created from the under-fleece fleece of the Kashmir goat- in much the same way as wool is. The animal grows its fleece. Eventually, the goat sheds its undercoat and the soft fleece that falls out (like a domestic pet malts in the warmer months.) It then gets collected, by hand, and goes through a treatment process before it is spun to create the sumptuously soft fibre we all know and love as Cashmere.
Why is it so expensive?
Let me illustrate the answer to this, picture one medium sized ladies jumper. The Cashmere required to make that jumper uses the fleece of 3 or 4 Kashmir goats. It is simply the fact that the fleece is so fine and that so much is needed to create the sheer quantity required. Having to wait for the goats to malt the undercoat adds to the time as does the laborious process of manually collecting all the discarded fleece. That is why we, at Mia Fratino, only make smaller batches of our products and we never have garments going on 'sale'. The goats have taken their time to grow the silky soft fleece that we use as our yarn and the price of the fibre simply matches the labour intensive process of getting that fibre spun, dyed and into garment production.
Where does it come from?
The goats themselves are originally from India and Pakistan (hence the name Kashmir goats.) The animals themselves have been found throughout history, living and breeding in Mongolia and parts of China as well as Afghanistan. Our Cashmere goats are happily living in the Mongolia, farmed and their fleece spun by one of the oldest Cashmere farming families in the region.
What makes it so special?
One of the things that make Cashmere so special is its perfect insulative properties. It's a fine strand fibre, lightweight and supple yet it can help insulate against temperatures of up to -40 degrees Celsius. It is also known for its softness. Becuase the fibre is spun so fine it has none of the itchiness traditional woollen yarn can often come with. It feels smooth and comfortable to wear Cashmere, even against your skin.
What about the downsides?
In our opinion, there are no downsides. Some people would have you believe that Cashmere is a waste of money because it pills. Let us clear up the myth. ALL Cashmere pills, whether it's your grandma's cardi to a Luis Vuitton winter special, it's the nature of the very short, fine fibres. That being so, Cashmere is one of the strongest and most resilient fibres. All you need is a cashmere comb or a de-piller and you can remove the tiny fibre balls and go back to the way things were. It can even be done by hand!
When cared for properly Cashmere keeps its shape and has the durability to last for years of wear. If you have any more questions about Cashmere care, head over to our Cashmere Care Clinic and find out how we support our customers on their Cashmere journey.