October 26, 2006

What IS Cashmere?

Ever since my mom brought me to this crazy cashmere sale last year, I've had an obsession for cashmere everything. They're just soooo soft to the touch and so warm. As a result I've acquired cashmere sweaters (esp the RL ones-they are just divine), scarves, hats, cardigans-all for the freezing cold winter of Chicago of course. Then the other day, my friend asked me, "What IS cashmere?" and that put me on the spot. How can I be truly cashmere crazy without knowing what makes cashmere different from say. . wool?

So I googled it up and this is what you need to know:

The name cashmere was derived from Kashmir, the state of India, where the cashmere (kashmir) goat was initially found. Cashmere is the fine, downy wool that grows beneath the coarse outer layer of hair, called the guard hair, of the cashmere goat. These wool are naturally white, grey or brown.

The luxuriously soft wool provides light weight insulation- enough to originally keep the goat warm in the cold mountain temperatures-without bulk, which is another reason why we love it so much-it keeps us stylish and warm. It is also appropriate for all climates, because the high moisture content of it allows the insulation properties to change with the humidity in the air.

But what makes it so precious is limited supply. Out of the annual clipping of 15000-20000 tons of cashmere, only 6500 tons turn into pure cashmere after the natural animal grease (ew), dirt and coarse hair are removed from it. Due to the conflict at Kashmir, very little actually comes from there. Nowadays, cashmere comes from the other high plateaus of Asia, such as northwestern China, Mongolia, Iran and Afghanistan.

There. Don't you feel much better equipped to truly appreciate the beauty of cashmere, now that you know all there is to know about it?

33 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, i didnt know that, cool

10/26/2006 12:30 PM  
Anonymous dani said...

I love cashmere!

10/26/2006 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

Cashmere is really awesome! It's pretty much the best thing for Winter! Well, besides snowboarding...or maybe in addition to, I don't know!

Check out trendi.com where you can define tomorrow's trends.

10/26/2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol animal grease

10/26/2006 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg!! i can't believe this post... btw..do you know where the silk comes from?? or... mohair or... angora??!! dear God... read something for a change!! c'mon girls...next thing you'll be posting about the origins of milk??! on the other hand it's quite funny that you're not ashamed of not knowing this...i'm glad that you learned something today!

10/26/2006 11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been hearing lately about "baby cashmere" which is even SOFTER. Baby cashmere is from goats no older than 2 years (I think that is the age).
Don't worry PETA people, the cashmere is taken in the summer when they do not need the insulation.
Now let's talk about Vicuna...
THAT is the alpha and beta of softness, very hard to find and expensive.

10/27/2006 2:05 AM  
Blogger scarlettholly said...

I absolutely adore cashmere. I used to have these fabulous cashmere wristwarmers from brora, which disappeared in my move to Edinburgh, and I still think of them now with a sigh...

the ultimate luxury? cashmere t-shirts.

10/27/2006 4:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to sound like an animal rights activist or anything of the sort- my cashmere fact to contribute is that animals get severely bruised and cut up during clippings.

10/27/2006 9:43 AM  
Blogger Jewel Box Dreamer said...

I love cashmere. I wear it nonstop during the winter. I always look for two-ply cashmere though. It's much, much stronger.

10/27/2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger plain.jane said...

love cashmere too... and mohair

10/27/2006 10:30 AM  
Anonymous EMMA W said...

All i know is that cashmere is hella expensive!

10/27/2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Itzie said...

is cashmere something where there is like animal friendly cashmere and animal cruel cashmere? it seems like it's become a lot cheaper/more available in the last few years, but are animals being treated worse? anyone know?

10/28/2006 1:34 AM  
Anonymous claudia said...

i like all kinds of wool(so soft!) but the washing is always hard for me(even when i washed an angora/wool sweater with cold water it shrunk :/) so now i'm extra careful and don't buy as much soft sweaters as i would like(+expensive :p)

10/31/2006 3:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone clarify whether cashmere is cruel or not? Or are some designers/retailers more conscientious than others? Love cashmere but don't want animals treated badly for my vanity.

11/29/2006 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What difference does it make just wear it. Do you thuk the early amn had aproblem with this?

12/08/2006 11:19 AM  
Anonymous heather o. said...

CASHMERE is made from cashmere goats. Those with "defects" in their coats are typically killed before 2 years of age. Industry experts expect farmers to kill 50 to 80 percent of young goats whose coats do not meet standards.

Contrary to what many consumers think, "shearling" is not sheared wool; the term refers to the sheep. A shearling is a yearling sheep who has been shorn once. A shearling garment is made from a sheep or lamb shorn shortly before slaughter; the skin is tanned with the wool still on it.

Angora rabbits are strapped to a board for shearing, kicking powerfully in protest. The clippers inevitably bite into their flesh, with bloody results. Angoras have very delicate foot pads, making life on a wire cage floor excruciating and ulcerated feet a common condition. Because male angoras have only 75 to 80 percent of the wool yield of females, on many farms they are killed at birth.

1/25/2007 5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I must reply to this.

I work in a store that sells cashmere products by some of the greatest scottish manufacturers. I am familiar with their ethics and can promise that they have high morals when it comes to fair trade and animal rights. As a result, the prices are high.

And they don't kill the goat to gather hair, because they give new cashmere every year and one animal can have a long life as a cashmere goat. The best cashmere is gently combed out of the goat. This is one of the most ethical animal products you can get.

oh and cashmere is NOT a wool.

3/27/2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a huge fan of cashmere - and having done my research totally agree with the above comment - cashmere is one of the most ethical products you can buy (especially the more expensive brands, ie. not those on the high street). I love cashmere mail order and online company Pure Collection.

7/04/2007 6:10 PM  
Anonymous John D, rapper said...

ref. "PETA people" comment:
Don´t blame PETA!
Peta is just trying to give animals some of the minimum rights back.

EG. did you know that sheep don´t normally wear that much wool/hair? Same with goats...
Did you know when the wool is taken off, the guys who do the job (paid by each sheep not by hr) cut off half of the face / ass sometimes and almost beat them to death?
Did you know sheep, goats, rabbits, antilopes (yes, that´s the SOURCE for cashmere and Merino wool) are mistreat like crazy, they are castrated by putting a gum around their genitals... (no narcotics!) probably one of the cruelest way imaginable...!!!!

Cashmere and Merino wool LOVERS, homeboys and kids with money, DO us and yourself a favour and put "cashmere, merino and peta" in your searchengine and read for 2 minutes what´s going on in the real world...

John D

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