Cashmere is incredibly soft, thin, and versatile. When taken care of, it is a heritage piece meant to be passed down from one generation to the next. Cashmere pieces are transcendental and can be worn season after season and year after year. They are basic but not plain and can be dressed up or dressed down. These are style staples that will elevate your wardrobe for the rest of your life.
What Is Cashmere?
Unlike traditional wool, cashmere is made from the fine, soft fiber combed from the undercoats of Kashmir goats. Cashmere gets its name from an old spelling of Kashmir, the region where its production and trade originated. These goats are found across the Himalayas where temperatures can drop to -30°C. Under this cold habitat, goats grow incredibly thick, warm coats. Cashmere goats have two layers of hair: a super-soft cashmere undercoat and an outer layer, the wool, that serves as the topcoat.
5 Cashmere Goats = 1 Sweater
The process of combing and collecting the under layer is pretty labor-intensive as the undercoat has to be separated from the outer layer by hand. Thankfully, we have excellent shepherds who are up to the task. Each goat typically produces just 150 g of fibers and it takes approximately 4-5 adult-sized goats to make one 100% cashmere sweater. Part of what makes cashmere so exclusive is its scarcity and time-consuming process... cashmere is only collected from goats once a year!
Where Does the Best Cashmere Come From?
Kashmir goats are originally found across the Himalayas where the cold and harsh climate has allowed them to grow the longest and finest fibers. Shepherds collect cashmere every spring when the goats begin to shed their warmer coats. The best cashmere goats typically live in harsh climates such as Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Nepal, Ladakh, and Baltistan.
Is All Cashmere The Same?
There are different grades of cashmere that are separated based on quality. These grades can be broken into three categories: A, B, and C.
“The thinner the cashmere, the finer the construction and the higher quality the final product.”
Grade A cashmere is the highest quality of cashmere. It is used by luxury brands and is what we here at State Cashmere use for all of our products. Grade A cashmere has a width as low as 14 microns, which is about 6 times finer than a human hair.
Slightly less soft than Grade A, Grade B cashmere is intermediate. It has a width of about 18-19 microns.
Grade C is the lowest quality of cashmere. It is twice as thick as Grade A and has a width of about 30 microns.
What Makes Cashmere So Great?
Cashmere products can easily last 10 years and over 200 wears when taken care of properly. It is not uncommon to hear of people wearing cashmere sweaters from their grandparents.
Soft & Light
Because the diameter of cashmere fibers is very small, it has a very fine texture. This fine texture, along with the longer fibers, contributes to maximum softness.
Warm & Breathable
Cashmere has an insulation capacity 3x higher than wool, regulating your body temperature to keep you warm rather than hot. Cashmere is hygroscopic, meaning it is naturally breathable. It can keep you cool when it is not and warm when it is not.
Shape Resilient & Wrinkle-Free
Quality cashmere does not shrink when washed correctly and will retain shape better than traditional wool. Cashmere does not wrinkle - you can pull it out of a suitcase and wear it straight away.