There must be several cashmere items in your wardrobe. But do you know how cashmere is made? This blog will tell you about the manufacturing process of cashmere wool.
One of the world’s softest fibers is cashmere. Given that it is the most exclusive and expensive fabric ever produced, the price of cashmere should come as no surprise. If you have ever worn cashmere clothing, you may already be familiar with how silky and long-lasting it is.
But how is cashmere made? Although shears or brushes are occasionally used to remove the wool from cashmere goats, today’s methods frequently involve a comb with sharp teeth. The first step in the procedure might involve dying the fibers to get the color you want, or it might involve combining the fiber with other substances like silk or other wool.
The next step is “carding,” in which the cashmere hair is detangled. After that, by weaving, the yarn becomes a patterned fabric.
Below are steps to manufacturing cashmere wool.
How is Cashmere Made?
- Harvesting the Fibers: Every year in the spring, when Cashmere goats naturally slough off their undercoat, the fibers are meticulously harvested. Without harming the goat, the delicate Cashmere fibers are gently separated from the goat.
- Sorting and Cleaning: After being harvested, the fibers go through a meticulous sorting procedure called “dehairing.”‘ It is at this point that the priceless Cashmere fibers are manually separated from the thicker guard hairs. After being cleaned, the Cashmere is washed to get the dirt and oils off.
- Carding and Spinning: After that, the fibers are carded, which straightens them and gets them ready for spinning. Following that, yarn is spun from the cashmere. Depending on the volume of production and desired quality, either a hand-held device or a machine can carry out this process.
- Dyeing: Cashmere comes in a variety of natural hues, including white, grey, brown, and black. However, Cashmere can be dyed in a wide variety of hues to produce a wide array of products. Because it can be dyed any color without first being bleached, white cashmere is especially prized.
- Weaving or Knitting: After being dyed, the Cashmere yarn is used to weave or knit a variety of items, such as blankets, scarves, hats, and sweaters. For the purpose of upholding a high standard of craftsmanship, many factories combine machine and hand knitting.
- Finishing Touches: To ensure the highest quality possible, each Cashmere product is then meticulously washed, dried, and finished, frequently by hand.
What is Cashmere Made Of?
The Mongolian cashmere goat grows the longest and softest belly fur during the winter, which is used to make cashmere. In other words, each of these rare goats only produces a tiny amount of cashmere once a year. In the early spring, it’s a gentle procedure where the fur is combed out just as it is beginning to shed.
Because the goat got to wear the cashmere sweater for a season before you, you could say it is secondhand. Globally, the annual production of wool is 300 times greater than that of cashmere. Cashmere is a very limited resource because of this.
How Much Cashmere Can You Get from a Cashmere Goat?
An average cashmere goat can yield between 800-1200 grams of raw fiber. But this is a very unprocessed fiber that also contains other substances like sand, grass, dust, urine, and feces. In comparison to the 3 kg on average of clean wool fiber a merino sheep produces, this dirty mass will only yield between 300 and 350 grams of clean cashmere fiber after cleaning.
10% to 50% of this pure cashmere fiber may be lost in production as material waste, depending on the products being produced.
When is Cashmere Collected?
When it comes to shearing goats, timing is crucial. If it’s too early, the goats won’t be very cooperative because the cashmere fiber is too tight and hurts them when they are combed.
If it’s too late, the fiber may already be straying from the animal and some may have been lost as a result of the animal’s normal activities. Another crucial point is that getting cashmere of high quality won’t happen if you’re either too early or too late. And remember, cashmere is collected only once in a year.
May is the ideal month for shearing in Inner Mongolia. However, in some areas, such as Hebei, Shanxi, Shan’xi, etc., spring arrives a little bit earlier. shearing is conducted mainly in April.
Is Cashmere Vegan?
Cashmere is an animal byproduct because it is made from goat hair. Veganism excludes all foods and goods made of animal products, including cashmere.
There are vegan cashmere substitutes available, including one made from vegetables. The fashion industry would have the opportunity to move away from using materials derived from animals if these substitutes were to become more widely accessible.
Is Cashmere Cruel?
People frequently believe that because their skins are not removed, as they are in the production of fur, animals do not suffer when producing cashmere and other types of wool. Animal rights activists, however, assert that the truth is very different.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claims that the combing procedure used to remove the wool from cashmere goats is time-consuming and stressful, requiring that the goats be restrained by their legs for up to an hour at a time. Scratches, bruising, and other injuries may result from it.
Even after a goat is no longer used for its wool, it still experiences pain. Goats were eventually sold to slaughterhouses where they suffered and sometimes died a slow death, according to a 2019 investigation into the cashmere industry in China and Mongolia.
Is Cashmere Ethical?
There are numerous negative effects to take into account when producing cashmere, including the severe toll it takes on animals and the environment.
Despite the fact that the cashmere apparel market is anticipated to reach $3.5 billion by 2025, many of the Mongolian farmers who produce it are living in poverty. Additionally, the land on which these farmers reside is susceptible to desertification, a result of climate change and overgrazing. The land has only become worse as the goat herd has grown.
Cashmere production raises a number of ethical issues to take into account, just like other facets of the fashion and animal agriculture industries.
Tips on Buying Cashmere
- Check the weight – a cashmere jumper made of two plies, means it is knitted from double strands of yarn and will be longer lasting. In general, a heavier sweater will cost more and keep you warmer.
- Beware of Pilling – The finest cashmere is sheared rather than combed and made from the longest fibers. If the fibers start to roll up and shed, the garment contains a lot of short fibers. You can test a garment before you buy it by rubbing the surface of the garment on the palm of your hand.
- Tight-knit – the tighter the knit the longer it will last. The knit will quickly lose its shape if it feels loose. The garment probably won’t last a season if you hold it up to the light and you can see through it.
- Read the label – Often, less than 5% of the cashmere in a garment marked 70% cashmere/30% wool is present. Only pure cashmere sweaters can be labeled “100% Cashmere.” Move on if there is no indication of that on the clothing.
Conclusion: How is Cashmere Made?
Any breed of goat that can produce cashmere wool is considered a Cashmere goat. With the exception of Angora, the majority of goat breeds, including dairy goats, can produce cashmere to varying degrees.
The fibers are cleaned and processed after they are taken from the goat. The processing reduces the number of coarse guard hairs to increase the proportion of downy cashmere; the resulting fabric is softer and typically more expensive if there are fewer guard hairs left. The guard hairs can be removed and used for rugs or brushes, among other things.
Why is Cashmere So Expensive?
A cashmere goat’s annual production of cashmere is limited to 200–300 grams, and it is harvested in the spring when the animal is naturally molting. For just one coat, 3 to 4 goats are required. There is only a limited amount produced globally, making it a very limited resource. Since it is uncommon, the price reflects that.
Is There Any Cruelty-Free Cashmere?
Although Naadam is a newcomer to the cashmere industry, they have already made a big impression. Everything in their range—from sustainable socks to sweaters and scarves—is made with what they call “the only cruelty-free cashmere.”
How Much is 100% Cashmere Worth?
Between $40 and $2,400 can be spent on cashmere goods. Given its long and resilient fibers, cashmere made from Mongolian goat wool is regarded as being of the highest quality.