Where cashmere comes from is a question that is frequently posed to us.
In the world of fashion, Cashmere has become synonymous with luxury that is highly coveted thanks to its supreme softness and exquisite quality. Cashmere is one of the most expensive natural fibers due to these qualities and others, but what is it and where does it come from exactly?
Cashmere is made from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats, who are kept by the millions in China and Mongolia, which dominate the market for this so-called “luxury” material. Read this blog and you can learn more about the origin of cashmere.
What is Cashmere Made From?
Cashmere wool, also referred to as “golden fleece” or the “king’s fiber” is obtained from a particular type of goat (scientific name: Hircus Blythi Goat) is a common animal in the Asian Highlands, particularly in Afghanistan, China, Tibet, and Mongolia.
In these zones, high-temperature excursions between day and night encourage underfur growth also referred to as duvet. Guard hair is the term for coarse hair’s outermost layer.
This precious gift from Mother Nature has been giving this creature ultimate thermo-regulating qualities and thereby protecting it from a wide range of temperature fluctuations. That is the main source of this noble fiber which is known worldwide as cashmere.
What Are the Origins of Cashmere Wool?
Over 60% of the total amount of raw cashmere produced worldwide is produced in China, which is also the largest producer. Second-placed Mongolia produces more than 25%. More than half of Mongolia’s raw cashmere was being purchased by China by the year 2000, which gave it increased control over the market and cashmere prices.
Afghanistan, India, Iran, Turkey, and Pakistan are among the other nations that make cashmere wool, though these two provide the vast majority of it.
The substance has long been regarded as a mark of social standing and wealth. From the 18th century, when the aristocracy and wealthy wore it, it was a common import into Europe.
However, the history of cashmere dates back to Kashmir in the 13th century. Since separatists have been trying to break away from India for decades, this area of the Indian subcontinent has been plagued by violence and unrest.
The region has also been the focus of territorial conflicts between Pakistan and India. However, many people in the West who purchase the item bearing its name are unaware of the region and its connections to cashmere.
How is Cashmere Fabric Made?
There are several distinct steps involved in producing cashmere fabric. Contrary to conventional, cottage-industry methods, commercial cashmere production is very different. The hair from goats has been combed, spun into fine yarn, and used by nomadic herding peoples for thousands of years.
Similar procedures are used in large-scale cashmere production facilities but on a much larger scale.
It takes a lot of time and effort to gather pashmina goats’ wool and spin it into premium cashmere yarn. In order to help the animals stay warm during the winter, the double fleece that creates the undercoat and guard hair grows during this time.
The goats start to molt or shed, this wool once spring arrives, though it can start as early as March in some places and as late as May in others.
For the best yield of pure cashmere, the traditional method of manually combing a goat’s fleece to remove the guard and down hairs is still preferred.
It may take two weeks of hand-combing the fleece to separate the down from the undercoat, and any remaining guard hairs from the collected down must be removed to ensure that the yarn spun from the wool fabric is soft and supple.
Before being dyed, spun, and woven into clothing, cashmere wool must first be cleaned. This cleans up any remaining dirt and debris and cleans the raw fiber of any extra animal oils. Rather than washing, dying, and carding by hand at this stage of the manufacturing process, industrial machinery is frequently used.
Large batches of a small number of intensely saturated, vibrant colors are frequently used when dying fibers. In order to achieve a variety of yarn colors without having to dye every bolt a particular shade, the manufacturer may combine different batches of these richly dyed fibers, depending on the desired outcome.
Due to the flexibility of the color spectrum, a manufacturer can produce, production can be completed more quickly.
The undercoat of cashmere goats is the source of this natural fiber. Fluffy masses of raw cashmere wool that have been dyed and blended are put through a number of steps to thinly weave them together. sheets of floppiness that are later formed into spools of a semblance of yarn.
Slubbing is the name given to this interim stage. In reality, there is a very weak bond between the fibers that could be easily pulled apart, despite the fact that to the untrained eye, it would appear to be finished yarn.
Cashmere slubs are spun into yarn with different strengths using mules. The mules work with several spools at once, quickly spinning a yarn that is wound onto cones for one last quality check. At this point, it truly transforms into cashmere wool yarn, ready to be woven into a variety of opulent goods.
Conclusion: the Origin of Cashmere
One of the many goat breeds that historically had their origins in Kashmir, a mountainous region in the north of the Indian subcontinent, is now known for producing cashmere, a type of wool. These goats grow their soft undercoat primarily in the chilly winter months, and it is shed in the spring.
The industrial loom performs the majority of the work for many of the commercially available cashmere garments. Because they are still frequently made by hand, scarves and shawls are prized for their distinctive personalities and intricate patterns.
Why is Cashmere 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. Just one coat requires the use of three to four goats. There is only a limited amount produced globally, making it a very limited resource. It is rare, so it’s priced accordingly.
Is 100% Cashmere Itchy?
Cashmere is considered to be far less itchy than other wools. In contrast to merino and other fibers, cashmere is completely hypoallergenic because it doesn’t contain lanolin. However, because cashmere is a natural fiber, some people may experience a mild itch.
What Animal Produces Cashmere?
There is no such thing as a “purebred” Most goat breeds, including those that are considered cashmere goats, can produce this down in varying amounts, but basically, any goat-producing cashmere can join the club! Some breeds are better known than others, but most consider Mongolian goats the best.