Welcome to Cashmere 101! Our crash course featuring all you ever wanted to know about this luxury, soft, buttery fabric!
In this article, we’re going to talk about what is cashmere, how it’s made, why it’s considered such a luxurious and expensive fabric, its main benefits, and also some fun facts about our favorite natural fiber. Read on to find out all you ever wanted to know about cashmere.
What Is Cashmere?
Cashmere is a natural fabric that has been used for centuries to make all types of garments, including jackets, coats, sweaters, shawls, gloves, hats, scarves, dresses, and more. It is more commonly used for winter clothes due to its high insulating properties, but its softness and versatility allow it to be used in comfortable & luxurious summer clothing as well.
How Is Cashmere Made?
The soft cashmere fiber comes from the cashmere goat, which is found across the Himalayas. The goat is also bred in locations like China, Mongolia, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, and Scotland. In order to deal with the bitterly cold temperatures in these regions (which can go as low as -30°C), these goats develop two coats of hair to deal with: a thick, wiry topcoat and a super soft, down cashmere undercoat. The second coat is where cashmere comes from.
When the weather warms up for spring, the Kashmir goats undergo a natural shedding process in which they get rid of a mixture of both coarse and fine hairs. The goats are brushed gently in order to delicately gather the under fleece - ensuring none of the fibers are harmed or damaged.
Once the fibers are collected, they undergo a selection process to keep only the longest and most delicate hairs. After, cashmere fibers are woven into a usable fabric through a delicate process that focuses on zero chemicals and no over-processing to keep the fabric as soft as possible. Too much processing or the addition of harmful chemicals can damage the fibers, taking away their soft and downy nature.
Why Is Cashmere A Luxury Fabric?
The cashmere fibers can only be collected once every year, making their supply extremely limited. Added to that, the fiber selection process narrows down the supply available because the wool of approximately 4 adult goats is needed to make one average-sized sweater. And to make matters more selective, the fabric creation process requires expert handling of the delicate fibers, leaving no room for mistakes, chemicals, or over-processing.
Cashmere is also an extremely soft fabric that works as an insulator (meaning that it keeps the warmth inside), which allows you to stay warm in cold conditions. Added to that, the fibers make it one of the most lightweight fabrics out there, which makes them extremely comfortable to wear.
All of these factors put together are what makes cashmere a luxury and high-quality fabric.
Why Is It So Soft?
As we already explained, many key factors contribute to the buttery-soft quality of cashmere:
- Their origin (soft fleece undercoat from Kashmir goats)
- The gathering process (selection of only the finest fibers)
- The creation process (no chemicals or over-processing)
This delicate selection and creation process is what makes cashmere one of the softest fibers in the world!
Wearing cashmere garments can yield many benefits:
- Insulation: cashmere has an insulation capacity 3x higher than regular wool.
- Sustainability: the fabric is gathered through a sustainable and natural process.
- Durability: the garments are of higher quality and longer-lasting than other fabrics, which means that you can have the same clothing for many years (avoiding fast fashion waste).
- Lightweight: cashmere fibers are extremely fine, which makes this fabric lightweight for all winter wear. This is also convenient for traveling!
- Comfortable & Soft: cashmere is one of the softest fabrics in the world, which makes it extremely comfortable and cozy to wear!
How To Tell Good Quality Cashmere
- Stay pure. Try looking for garments that are 100% cashmere, gathered from the best region possible. The quality of the fiber material will be a great factor for determining cashmere quality.
- Avoid blends. Many garments are blended with other fabrics that can compromise the quality and softness of the final piece. At Bellemere, we’re built upon guaranteeing the fabric that goes into our garments are of the highest quality.
- Check the ply and gauge. The higher the gauge is, the tighter the garment is knit, making it warmer and more durable.
Finally, some cashmere fun facts! Did you know that...
- Cashmere fiber is six times finer than human hair.
- The longer the cashmere fiber, the softer the garment.
- Each goat only produces around 150 grams of fibers.
- It takes around 4 adult-sized goats to produce 1 average-sized garment.
- When cared for correctly, a cashmere garment can last for more than 10 years.
- Cashmere comes in three natural colors: white, brown, and gray.