Characterized by the fineness of the fibres, which are almost silk-like, cashmere wool is considered one of the most prestigious and luxurious fibres in existence. At FilidiLana, we use cashmere yarn to create stoles and scarves that are refined and soft, made unique by the artisanal weaving carried out on our wooden looms that date back to the 1940s.
Pure cashmere is very expensive because it is very rare, and the production and selection carried out by hand is very time-consuming and difficult. However, what makes it so renowned is its exceptional qualities. It is a very resistant yarn, soft and warm, which has extreme thermoregulating qualities, more than Merino wool.
It is worth your while to explore the qualities of cashmere wool. Let’s understand how it is made and the secrets you need to know to care for your cashmere clothes and fashion accessories.
What is cashmere wool and how is it produced?
What is cashmere wool and how is it produced?
Cashmere is a noble wool made from natural fibres that are fine and soft. To the touch, it feels almost like silk. The name derives from the word Kashmir, the region in northern India from which the production originated.
The cashmere wool fibres derive exclusively from the soft undercoat of the double fleece coat of a particular domestic goat bred on the high planes of Mongolia, Northern China, Iran and Afghanistan.
Today, only a small part of the world’s cashmere production comes from the Indian region which gave the wool its name. The best cashmere goats live in Inner Mongolia, a region that is known for its varying climate, which contributes to the production of the highest quality cashmere.
In fact, it is for the harsh winters and hot summers that cashmere goats have a double fleece made up of:
- outercoat (guard), consisting of long, hard hairs that protect the soft fine undercoat from water;
- undercoat (duvet), characterized by extremely fine hairs that are exceptionally thermoregulating, keeping the goat warm in winter and cool in summer.
The production of cashmere starts in spring. During the moulting season, when the goats lose their hairs naturally.
The majority of these fibres are collected manually by combing the animals: it is a complex, difficult process. Then the duvet is separated from the guard, selected and divided according to the quality, which is based on the thickness, length, and colour of the hairs.
The next phase, called de-hairing, sees the washing and cleansing of the high-quality cashmere fibres. Finally, the fibres are dyed and spun into precious yarns that will go on to create the finest clothing.
The soft, velvety fashion accessories of the Vertigo by FilidiLana collections are created using the purest cashmere. This makes them the perfect fashion accessory for comfort, warmth, and protection from the elements in any season.
Why cashmere is considered better than Merino wool
The incredible qualities of cashmere wool make the clothes and fashion accessories made from this fibre highly desirable. It can be woven and handcrafted to make sweaters, coats, trousers, plaids, etc. But it is also perfect for making shawls, stoles, and scarves to give a touch of class to any outfit.
While Merino wool and cashmere are both natural fibres and both renewable, cashmere makes a finer yarn, soft, resistant, and isothermal. The finer, longer and purer it is, that is to say, without the guard and dark hairs, the higher the price.
But why is cashmere considered better than Merino wool? Here are five main reasons that make the difference:
- insulating properties – cashmere is at least three times more thermally insulating than Merino wool and it also guarantees a natural balance of the body’s temperature;
- softness – having a very small diameter, the fibres create a fine web, of high density, and this makes cashmere the softest of all threads;
- lightness – given the excellent thermoinsulating qualities, clothing and accessories in cashmere can be lighter than wool ones while still guaranteeing a perfect body temperature;
- durability and keeping its shape – if washed carefully and correctly, high-quality cashmere wool does not shrink, it keeps its shape better than Merino wool, and it can last for tens of years.
- More resistant to pilling – pilling is a phenomenon whereby little balls of fibre are created on wool fabrics. This happens when shorter fibres twist onto themselves in areas of most friction. Although this is inevitable, the highest quality cashmere is made of longer fibres and the pillling process is reduced to a minimum and the little balls are easy to remove.
All these aspects make cashmere wool much more sought after than Merino wool. It must be said, however, that Merino wool is an excellent quality fibre and if it is woven using great care and attention, it produces very high-quality fashion accessories that are greatly appreciated.
Cashmere wool: how to know you’re buying a quality product
You now know why cashmere is considered a prestigious product and why it’s expensive. But the price of a product made in cashmere wool is not enough to determine the quality of that product and help you choose the right fabric.
For example, at FilidiLana, we produce fashion accessories in pure cashmere made using fine yarns and we sell them in our Factory Store at factory prices. This means that the price is much lower than it would be in a store.
Always check the label of the clothes or accessories you wish to buy. What some brands call “cashmere” may, sometimes, be a mix of different yarns. This does not detract from the production method or the quality of the item on the whole, but it can’t be defined and sold as pure cashmere.
In addition, even if on the label you read – 100% cashmere – it’s always good to know (although you may have an inkling by now) that not all cashmere is alike. At a technical level, the quality of the fibres depends on two things:
- length – the longer the fibres are (from 28 to 42 mm), the more resistant and long-lasting your article of clothing will be. Longer fibres are the ones found on the neck and belly of cashmere goats, and they are the most expensive;
- thickness – the finer the fibres (from 15 to 19 micron) the softer the yarn will be.
If you are not an expert, it is not easy to distinguish high quality cashmere from lesser quality cashmere, at least until you’ve washed the garment. So, what should you do to make sure you’re buying a true cashmere product and it’s of the highest quality?
How to know you’ve bought a quality cashmere product
Again, if you aren’t an expert, it’s hard to be sure the garment you are buying is high quality cashmere. You can, however, check for certain things to help you make your choice:
- touch the sweater to make sure it’s soft and light; when placed next to your neck, it mustn’t be rough or itchy;
- examine the surface – sometimes, the softness comes from the use of a yarn made from shorter, less resistant fibres. Try to rub your hand on the fabric to see if there is a pilling effect (which indicates the presence of a high percentage of shorter fibres);
- check the origin of the yarn – not all cashmere goats are the same: some produce finer more prestigious fibres. For example, goats from Inner Mongolia are considered the best for both the harsh winter and summer temperatures they must endure, as well as for their diet;
- look at the colour of the threads – before being dyed, the natural fibres are white, brown and beige. Lighter coloured cashmere fibres need less dye and this greatly reduces the negative impact on the softness;
- check the number of threads – look for garments made using two threads intertwined because they are more resistant. If the threads are tightly woven, this means the garment will be warmer and softer.
And finally, if you can, always buy garments and fashion accessories in cashmere from well known producers and shops. Along with the client ratings found on the internet, you will discover that the retailer will have no objection to showing you the yarns used to weave the product. In this way, you will always be sure of the quality of the product, and you will know that it was created using the highest quality cashmere.
How to care for your cashmere accessories
How to care for your cashmere accessories
Notwithstanding the incredible qualities cashmere can offer, it is a delicate wool and needs tender loving care. Here are some suggestions on how to care for your cashmere garment:
- hand wash or machine wash using a short, delicate cycle at low temperature (30°C);
- always wash your garment upside-down;
- use delicate detergent or a specific product just for cashmere;
- dry clean, but ask that they use delicate detergent;
- do not wring dry, but you can tumble dry using a short, delicate cycle, or by pressing your garment delicately in a towel;
- lay your garment out on a flat surface to dry, and keep it out of the direct sunlight;
- never hang your garment out to dry or it will stretch and lose its shape;
- iron at low temperature after placing a cloth on the cashmere fabric: never apply the iron on the cashmere directly;
- avoid hanging it in your closet: fold it when you put it away or it may lose its shape;
- if you don’t wear it for a long period of time, place it inside a special container or bag for sealable clothing to protect it from moths, and use mothballs or lavender;
- remove the pilling only when the garment is dry. Apply, very delicately, a cashmere brush or a pilling shaver and afterwards it will be as good as new.
Take extra care of your cashmere accessories and they will reward you with their extraordinary, luxurious softness for numerous years to come.
Where to find the best cashmere accessories online
When buying excellent cashmere products, you will be increasing the longeity, the luxury and the quality of your wardrobe. It’s true, it’s an initial investment that may be more costly than a Merino wool garment, but it will certainly last longer and it will offer infinite, unparalleled wearability and comfort.
The only problem with cashmere is that its softness can be addictive: once you’ve worn it, it will be difficult to live without. All our Vertigo by FilidiLana products are available on our online shop. Enjoy our selection of accessories in pure cashmere as well as other luxury fashion accessories woven in the finest yarns by our expert weavers. You can order them with just a click and receive them at your door.
For more information, contact us, no strings attached. Or come visit us at our Factory Store FilidiLana in Calenzano (Florence) where you can witness the quality of our products for yourself. We would love to meet you and show you our collections.