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cashmere vs. pashmina goats

ALL ABOUT CASHMERE

The 101 on the most expensive fabric in the world

ALL ABOUT CASHMERE

The 101 on the most expensive fabric in the world

Now that winter is at our doorstep, warmer clothes are being put on rotation. Naturally, wool has a special place in our hearts, so we thought we would take on the subject of “Cashmere”: one the world's most expensive materials, and answer all your potential questions.

Now that winter is at our doorstep, warmer clothes are being put on rotation. Naturally, wool has a special place in our hearts, so we thought we would take on the subject of “Cashmere”: one the world's most expensive materials, and answer all your potential questions.

What is cashmere?

Cashmere: wool’s close cousin with a finer, softer and warmer DNA, this luxurious material is one of the most desirable in the world.

Born in Kashmir, it takes its name after this northern Indian region but with an anglicized version of the word, AKA: “Cashmere.” Produced and loved for thousands of years, it was originally worn by emperors and eventually brought to Europe in the 19th century. Cashmere doesn't just have historical relevance - it has also been taken into the 21st century gracefully and has still kept its value.

This wonderfully sought-after material is incredibly long-lasting and three times as warm as wool, with a soft-to-the-touch texture that’s larger than life.

Our Cashmere is made from Grade-A Mongolian materials, making it a luxurious, warm and soft fabric to withstand snow days and lower-than-iced coffee temperatures. Its fibers are some of the highest-quality on the market, making it the perfect clothing investment and gift for those who like a little luxury in their lives.

What is cashmere?

Cashmere: wool’s close cousin with a finer, softer and warmer DNA, this luxurious material is one of the most desirable in the world.

Born in Kashmir, it takes its name after this northern Indian region but with an anglicized version of the word, AKA: “Cashmere.” Produced and loved for thousands of years, it was originally worn by emperors and eventually brought to Europe in the 19th century. Cashmere doesn't just have a historical relevance - it has also been taken into the 21st century gracefully and has still kept its value.

This wonderfully sought-after material is incredibly long-lasting and three times as warm as wool, with a soft-to-the-touch texture that’s larger than life.

Our Cashmere is made from Grade-A Mongolian materials, making it a luxurious, warm and soft fabric to withstand snow days and lower-than-iced coffee temperatures. Its fibers are some of the highest-quality on the market, making it the perfect clothing investment and gift for those who like a little luxury in their lives.

Where does cashmere come from?

The actual material comes from the wool of pashmina and cashmere goats, creatures as playful as they are precious. Not to be confused with sheep (where other types of wool come from), cashmere undergoes a different process to become what we come to know and love.

It goes something like this:

Springtime is the time to cultivate this lovely material, as it is when the goats do not need their fur and shed their winter hair.

The cashmere is detached from the goats in a non-harmful way to secure their safety and a raw product. Fun fact: combing the goats is the most optimal method to collect the cashmere. Even though it is time-consuming, this is what keeps the material noteworthy, in order to not compromise great quality cashmere clothing and knitwear.

The cashmere goats have a two-layered coat with two different purposes: when the hair is removed, the coarser top layer is separated from the softer under-hair. The outer-layer is coarse and used to make brushes, non-apparel items and to protect from the elements due to their nature. The undercoat is soft, fine and dense, the perfect conditions to make fabrics, and wearable items the cashmere sweaters you love so much.

We ensure our cashmere is sourced from sustainable origins in order to secure top-quality and ethical practices.

Where does cashmere come from?

The actual material comes from the wool of pashmina and cashmere goats, creatures as playful as they are precious. Not to be confused with sheep (where other types of wool come from), cashmere undergoes a different process to become what we come to know and love.

It goes something like this:

Springtime is the time to cultivate this lovely material, as it is when the goats do not need their fur and shed their winter hair.

The cashmere is detached from the goats in a non-harmful way to secure their safety and a raw product. Fun fact: combing the goats is the most optimal method to collect the cashmere. Even though it is time-consuming, this is what keeps the material noteworthy, in order to not compromise great quality cashmere clothing and knitwear.

The cashmere goats have a two-layered coat with two different purposes: when the hair is removed, the coarser top layer is separated from the softer under-hair. The outer-layer is coarse and used to make brushes, non-apparel items and to protect from the elements due to their nature. The undercoat is soft, fine and dense, the perfect conditions to make fabrics, and wearable items the cashmere sweaters you love so much.

We ensure our cashmere is sourced from sustainable origins in order to secure top-quality and ethical practices.

Is all cashmere the same?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Below.

The quality of cashmere is correlated to the different grades that exist. There are three grades: A, B and C.

Grade A: la crème de la crème. It has 14 microns width per hair.

Grade B: the medium ground, around 18-19 microns width per hair.

Grade C: is the lowest quality, measuring around 30 microns width per cashmere hair.

So, contrary to what may be typically believed, the thinner the cashmere, the finer the construction. This ensures top quality for the final product.

Geography also plays a part in how cashmere is produced, causing the quality of the cashmere practices and products to change. The finest cashmere is produced in the Kashmir region of India, where cashmere originated. This is due to the harsh winter conditions of the region, causing Kashmir goats to grow finer, denser hair, that produce the top raw materials for cashmere touchable, wearable pieces. For this reason, their limited quantities make them an exclusive and expensive material.

And, the question of the century (well, of this section):

How can you tell which is which? Use your senses. In other words: touching is believing!

You’re in the presence of 100% Grade A cashmere if:

  • It stretches and goes back to its natural shape.

  • Once you run your hand, it does not shed small threads.

  • It feels like soft, melt-in-your-hands fabric.

Is all cashmere the same?

Short answer: No. Long answer: Below.

The quality of cashmere is correlated to the different grades that exist. There are three grades: A, B and C.

Grade A: la crème de la crème. It has 14 microns width per hair.

Grade B: the medium ground, around 18-19 microns width per hair.

Grade C: is the lowest quality, measuring around 30 microns width per cashmere hair.

So, contrary to what may be typically believed, the thinner the cashmere, the finer the construction. This ensures top quality for the final product.

Geography also plays a part in how cashmere is produced, causing the quality of the cashmere practices and products to change. The finest cashmere is produced in the Kashmir region of India, where cashmere originated. This is due to the harsh winter conditions of the region, causing Kashmir goats to grow finer, denser hair, that produce the top raw materials for cashmere touchable, wearable pieces. For this reason, their limited quantities make them an exclusive and expensive material.

And, the question of the century (well, of this section):

How can you tell which is which? Use your senses. In other words: touching is believing!

You’re in the presence of 100% Cashmere/Higher Grade Cashmere if:

  • It stretches and goes back to its natural shape.

  • Once you run your hand, it does not shed small threads.

  • It feels like soft, melt-in-your-hands fabric.

What makes cashmere so great?

Cashmere is the King (or Queen) of fabrics, so it’s no wonder it has many benefits that give it this most deserved title. Rare and luxurious, here’s just a few reasons to love this material.

What makes cashmere so great?

Cashmere is the King (or Queen) of fabrics, so it’s no wonder it has many benefits that give it this most deserved title. Rare and luxurious, here’s just a few reasons to love this material.

Breathability

Cashmere’s lightness and breathability make it top of
the clothing fabric food chain. And, its versatility
means you can keep it on rotation year-round.

Even though it’s a version of wool, due to its finer,
stronger, softer nature it can be three times more
insulating than sheep wool.

Warm and breathable - the perfect all-year material.

Cashmere’s lightness and breathability make it top of the clothing fabric food chain. And, its versatility means you can keep it on rotation year-round.

Even though it’s a version of wool, due to its finer, stronger, softer nature it can be three times more insulating than sheep wool.

Warm and breathable - the perfect all-year material.

Softness

Cashmere is known for its sensitive reputation, or in
other words: for its deliciously soft composition.

The fine fibers in Grade-A cashmere, or 100% cashmere
give it that cozy and melted-butter feel, making it
irresistible to the touch.

It also helps that this fabric works with your body as it is
flexible in nature… but more on that coming up...

Cashmere is known for its sensitive reputation, or in other words: for its deliciously soft composition.

The fine fibers in Grade-A cashmere, or 100% cashmere give it that cozy and melted-butter feel, making it irresistible to the touch.

It also helps that this fabric works with your body as it is flexible in nature… but more on that coming up...

Longevity

The higher the grade, the more durable
the cashmere garment!

Because of its flexibility, strength, and
high quality, the fabric retains shape over
the years, meaning you don’t just get to
enjoy a wonderful piece for a lifetime but
also feel cozy and comfortable while
doing so.

The higher the grade, the more durable the cashmere garment!

Because of its flexibility, strength, and high quality, the fabric retains shape over the years, meaning you don’t just get to enjoy a wonderful piece for a lifetime but also feel cozy and comfortable while doing so.

Why is cashmere typically so expensive?

With higher quality comes a higher price tag…

As we just referenced, cashmere is versatile, soft and breathable, making it a top-quality material that finds its worth with its composition and origins.

The limited amount of 100% Grade-A cashmere produced by true wool-farmers in the Kashmir regions makes this fabric very desirable.

Additionally, a whole process goes into the creation of this material. Prior to collecting the raw materials to create the final product, it takes time and patience to comb the goats to ensure the highest quality and the softest garments.

So, the more care and brushing, the lovelier the cashmere and the higher the price!

P.S. Once this de-hairing process has taken place, the cashmere is ready to be woven, dyed and spun to create the final luxurious clothing you have been reading about.

In a nutshell, cashmere is not just a little pricier than its typical wool cousin because of its incredible softness, but also because of its durable nature, versatile wear and the extensive process it goes through to become the lovely clothes you wear and blankets you sleep with.

Why is cashmere typically so expensive?

With higher quality comes a higher price tag…

As we just referenced, cashmere is versatile, soft and breathable, making it a top-quality material that finds its worth with its composition and origins.

The limited amount of 100% Grade-A cashmere produced by true wool-farmers in the Kashmir regions makes this fabric very desirable.

Additionally, a whole process goes into the creation of this material. Prior to collecting the raw materials to create the final product, it takes time and patience to comb the goats to ensure the highest quality and the softest garments.

So, the more care and brushing, the lovelier the cashmere and the higher the price!

P.S. Once this de-hairing process has taken place, the cashmere is ready to be woven, dyed and spun to create the final luxurious clothing you have been reading about.

In a nutshell, cashmere is not just a little pricier than its typical wool cousin because of its incredible softness, but also because of its durable nature, versatile wear and the extensive process it goes through to become the lovely clothes you wear and blankets you sleep with.

How do I care for cashmere?

It takes a little work to take care of your Cashmere garments. But this will ensure its forever-wear and tip-top shape. Here’s some advice for the ultimate Cashmere Care or CC:

  • Lesson 1: No machines, please. This lovely fabric should only be washed by hand with cold water, as the fabric becomes fragile when wet. Using a mild soap or detergent is also recommended, and letting it air dry is vital to its shape and durability.

  • Lesson 2: Say no to fabric softener. A little known fact is that cashmere becomes softer as time goes by. Chemical softeners can damage the fabric and limit its durability, so be sure to keep it simple with the washing routine.

  • Lesson 3: Wash a little, wear a lot. Another day, the same outfit! Because of its breathable nature, cashmere can be aired out for use the next day.. and remain fresh for a little while longer.

OK, but how do you stop cashmere from pilling? The fact is that all wool and cashmere is going to pill. But a few easy tricks can make a difference:

  • Use sweater spray instead of washing occassionally. Try to wear your pieces 5-6 times between washes. In the meantime, we highly recommend the Wool & Cashmere Spray from The Laundress. Lightly spray and leave your sweater out for a bit before putting it away.

  • Make a cashmere comb your best friend. When pills inevitably come, just use a sweater comb to brush them away. Use a bit of pressure when combing, but don’t be rough!

How do I care for cashmere?

It takes a little work to take care of your cashmere garments. But this will ensure its forever-wear and tip-top shape. Here’s some advice for the ultimate Cashmere Care or CC:

  • Lesson 1: No machines, please. This lovely fabric should only be washed by hand with cold water, as the fabric becomes fragile when wet. Using a mild soap or detergent is also recommended, and letting it air dry is vital to its shape and durability.

  • Lesson 2: Say no to fabric softener. A little known fact is that cashmere becomes softer as time goes by. Chemical softeners can damage the fabric and limit its durability, so be sure to keep it simple with the washing routine.

  • Lesson 3: Wash a little, wear a lot. Another day, the same outfit! Because of its breathable nature, cashmere can be aired out for use the next day.. and remain fresh for a little while longer.

OK, but how do you stop cashmere from pilling? The fact is that all wool and cashmere is going to pill. But a few easy tricks can make a difference:

  • Use sweater spray instead of washing occassionally. Try to wear your pieces 5-6 times between washes. In the meantime, we highly recommend the Wool & Cashmere Spray from The Laundress. Lightly spray and leave your sweater out for a bit before putting it away.

  • Make a cashmere comb your best friend. When pills inevitably come, just use a sweater comb to brush them away. Use a bit of pressure when combing, but don’t be rough!

FAQ

1. Is cashmere cruel? Or can it be ethically sourced?

Like any fabric, the origins of cashmere depend on how it’s sourced and handled. This oftentimes changes by region, and naturally, the effects vary on the animal treatment and the quality of the materials.

Cheaper cashmere is usually produced where the animals are not in optimal conditions, the land suffers, and the cashmere is blended with other materials to ensure a larger production.

As you’ve read a few times, the finest and most properly sourced cashmere happens in the mountains and Asian regions from cashmere goats, where time and labor intensive cashmere production methods correlate to the amount made.

A new way of also keeping cashmere sustainable and ethical, is by recycling the material; a practice that is making its way into the fashion industry.

2. How long will cashmere last?

Remember your grandparents’ vintage and extra soft sweaters? Those with the softer-than-life feel, perhaps made in a soft shade? That’s probably a cashmere sweater…

When taken care of properly (tips above), cashmere will last almost forever. The higher the cashmere grade, the longer it will remain fresh. The extensive process it has to go through to become your favourite sweater or cardigan ensures its longevity, and makes the cashmere the perfect item to pass down your family line.

3. What are the best cashmere items to splurge on?

Any item you feel you’ll wear endlessly, is a good item to invest in! However, we have a duty to be objective in the matter, so we will go for the classics: sweaters.

Anything in the sweater family is a good fit for your cashmere budget — that includes cardigans too because of their versatility and purpose. A good cashmere sweater goes well with everything, it’s layerable and can be worn every season, given the lightness of the material.

If we had to make a second pick? We’d say to invest in a good throw blanket that you can cozy up with to spend your winter curled up with a good book and a nice cup of tea.

4. What makes Quince cashmere different?

As our brand ethos dictates: We offer the best in organically produced materials with the environment in mind, and work with factories that produce garments ethically and sustainably.

Our cashmere products in particular are made from 100% Grade-A Mongolian cashmere, ensuring the quality and longevity of our garments. We do not use “cashmere blends” that compromise the product, meaning our pieces have the characteristics that this material should have.

Additionally, we keep our prices fair through lower markups by implementing the best practices that make Quince a top (online) destination for sustainable, quality fashion that’s also luxurious and affordable.