When you hear the word cashmere, you instantly think of a soft, cozy, warm material, a luxury item made from natural materials.
But did you know that the price of cashmere fell by 50% during the pandemic? This is due to the higher demand for the products and climate changes in Mongolia, where cashmere is sourced.
These two factors combined mean that the cashmere industry is in trouble. However, we all still want to buy a high-quality cashmere sweater for the cold season. Therefore, it is essential to find the best cashmere products that support local herders and are ethically conscious brands. Today, we're sharing where cashmere comes from, how it is sourced, and where to find trustworthy cashmere clothing that is authentic and high-quality.
What Is Cashmere?
Before buying a cashmere sweater, you need to understand where the material comes from and how it is sourced.
So, where does cashmere come from?
Cashmere comes from a specific type of goats called cashmere goats in China and Mongolia. The goat's hair is carefully harvested and used to make yarn, used to make textiles and clothing. This tradition has been going on for hundreds of years.
It is an ancient process that continues to keep us warm today. That is because the fiber in cashmere is hollow, allowing it to be light and hold warmth, similar to a double pane window insulating your home. This is especially effective for the goats trying to survive in the ultracold climates of Mongolia and the Chinese mountains.
Even though this luxury material has been in demand for decades, very few standards or governing bodies exist. Just because the label on your clothes says, cashmere does not necessarily mean that it is authentic or even good quality material. This is slowly changing with the emergence of the GCS (Good Cashmere Standard) and DNA testing.
How to Tell if Cashmere Is Real
Nowadays, there are lots of businesses trying to sell low-quality cashmere. This low-quality cashmere is typically the shortest hair from the goat and is what's left if they are shorn with electric razors. These are the $50 or $75 sweaters you see everywhere. You want the longer hairs that are combed from the belly of the goat. Luckily, there are a few ways to tell if your cashmere item is genuine or of bad quality, or even poorly processed. Here are a few telltale attributes to consider.
If you are experienced with cashmere products, you will be used to their particular texture. Suppose it is exceptionally fuzzy and overly soft. In that case, it is likely to have been over washed, which means the strength of the yarn is likely compromised and won't last as long. They do this to speed up the process that takes place naturally, so the purchaser feels something ultra-soft right away. Expect a good cashmere sweater to get even softer over time.
Cashmere is uniquely soft, and the fibers are incredibly delicate and refined. It should be soft to the touch but not so soft that it has lost the integrity of the yarn. Cashmere is like wine; it gets better over time.
When you purchase an authentic cashmere cardigan or pullover, you will notice piling forming under the arms or areas where the cashmere will rub after long-term use. This is perfectly normal for authentic cashmere material, and it combing it is part of the maintenance of owning cashmere. It should not pill instantly (a sign of over washed and substandard quality cashmere)
For natural cashmere, the pills should be easy to pull off, but if they are synthetic, they will be difficult to remove. Therefore, it is essential to look out for this after wearing it for a while.
If you want to examine your cashmere product, even more, you can carry out a burn test. We do not recommend doing this for obvious reasons, but it is a way to check. All you need to do is:
- Gather some cashmere fibers from your scarf or sweater
- Roll them up into a ball and place them on a hard surface
- Burn the ball of threads with a small flame
If the cashmere is natural, the material will burn slowly and reduce in size when the flame is present. Then, it will dissolve into powder.
In contrast, if the material is fake or a blend of other materials, it will produce black smoke and a smell of plastic. It will then turn hard and continue giving off black smoke.
Ultimately, the best way to figure out if cashmere is natural and of higher quality is the price.
Why is natural cashmere so expensive?
The finer the cashmere fiber is, the more expensive it is. This is due to the lengthy process of manufacturing and rareness of the longer cashmere hairs.
More Facts About Cashmere
Here are some more interesting facts about cashmere!
- To make one average-sized sweater, you will need 3-5 goats.
- Cashmere products do not change shape over time or fade in color.
- Cashmere is eight times warmer than lambswool.
- The average Mongolian goat-herder owns around 100 goats.
Where to Find the Best Cashmere Products
Now that you know how to tell the difference between real and fake cashmere products, you might be wondering where to buy the best cashmere clothing.
You can browse our whole collection to find something the cooler weather. We have a full range of different designs that are available in a variety of colors.
Not only this, but Pura Cashmere strives to create clothes that fit well and look beautiful when you are wearing them. If you are concerned about quality, you can also check how our material is sourced and crafted into clothing.
The most crucial part of finding an authentic cashmere pullover is researching the company selling and ensuring the material is ethically sourced to be sure you are getting the best quality product for your investment. Pura Cashmere is a reliable and transparent cashmere seller that you can trust. We aren't the cheapest, but we offer quality sustainable cashmere at wholesale pricing.
How to Look After Your Cashmere Sweater
As cashmere is a delicate material, you will have to be careful when cleaning your clothes. Otherwise, the soft fibers will be ruined.
Firstly, you should not wash your cashmere sweater until you have worn it at least a dozen times. Then, typically, the label will say "dry clean only," which is the simplest way to clean your sweaters.
Suppose you choose to wash your sweater in the washing machine. In that case, you should follow our instructions carefully and use only approved cashmere shampoo. You can get these shampoos right from our site. For more information, please visit our care storage page.
Comb Out the pills
As mentioned before, sometimes cashmere clothes produce pills of yarn after it has been worn. To get rid of these, all you need to do is buy a comb or stone and lightly brush them out. For more information, please visit our care storage page.
Storage and Damage Prevention
Moths are drawn to natural fibers, which makes cashmere the perfect material for them. There are a few things you can do to prevent moths from invading your clothes. For instance, you can use naturally scented sachets of lavender, rosemary, or cedar to warn them off and keep your clothes fresh.
You can also place your cashmere sweater in the storage bag that we provide with every sweater we sell. Simply add a few cedar balls to the storage bag, and you can be confident your sweater will survive the offseason.
Raising Cashmere Goats
Due to the increase in cashmere sales, more herders began switching from camels to goats. This has put pressure on the land as the terrain is not used to goat's hooves.
Consequently, the environment in Mongolia and China has started to change to keep up with the cashmere production. We try to work with small herders to prevent the mass destruction of the lands.
Pura Cashmere aims to produce sustainable and organic cashmere sweaters and knits that do not harm the environment. We believe in a sustainable business model and make all our decisions with that in mind.
With the rise of sustainable fashion and consumer concerns over climate change, businesses need to be transparent about where they get the resources used and how the people and animals are treated in creating the clothes. You can find a complete list of information on Pura Cashmere's website that outlines exactly where we source our cashmere and how it is made into the beautiful sweaters you see online.
How are the sweaters sustainable?
In short, the cashmere is from the inner regions of Mongolia, where there are regular inspections to ensure the welfare of the goats and the environment. We source our yarns from a manufacturer that meets the Good Cashmere Standard, and DNA certifies the yarn. Each spool of yarn is traceable to a specific herd. Not only this but the factories that we use to manufacture the sweaters pay fair market wages and minimize the use of chemicals and water in the production process.
There is no reason you cannot know exactly where your clothes come from and why they are priced the way they are. It is good to double-check the quality of your clothes! We believe we are doing this the best way possible and giving our customers the best quality cashmere at direct-to-consumer prices.
Treat Yourself to the Very Best Cashmere Today
Hopefully, now you have all you need to know about cashmere, where it comes from, how to spot the difference in quality, and where to buy the best cashmere sweaters.
Why wait until your next birthday to treat yourself to a gorgeous new piece of clothing? Instead, check out our website catalog and reach out if you have any questions about the materials used!