Nothing compares to the soft touch of a cashmere garment. Considered by some to be the most luxurious of all fabrics, cashmere is prized for it’s warmth and durability, but above all, it’s softness. Made from the hair of the Cashmere goat, the fibre differs vastly from wool not only in texture but in feel.
There are official classifications for cashmere and the fibres must be at least 3.175 cm long and less than 18.5 microns in diameter. To illustrate just how fine these fibres are, the average human hair is between 70-100 microns. Cashmere is also considered eight times warmer than wool and is able to absorb water and moisture from the body and it’s surroundings without feeling damp or wet. Not much high quality hair is removed from one animal and the hair of three goats is needed to produce a pure jumper, which explains the high retail costs. Inferior short hairs are often sold cheaply and blended with other threads to produce bad quality “cashmere.”
First discovered in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, it is from this area that our goats are named. It is interesting to note that goats producing the finest fibres are those that live in the most extreme climates. Goat hair keeps the animal warm and the harsher and more changeable the weather, the softer and more durable this hair grows. Cold winters contrasted with hot summers help produce the finest threads. America, Australia and New Zealand all produce cashmere, but it is noticeably inferior to that which grows in remote areas of the Himalayas and the high mountains of China.
Photos by Paul Esson, Preston Rhea & Pavan.