That cashmere is the perfect wool
with which to make the softest, warmest and most comfortable sweaters is a fact.
But not everyone is perhaps able to distinguish it from the many other valuable types of wool that are currently in circulation. For the uninitiated, it is often not easy to identify a quality sweater or cashmere dress. Moreover, not everyone is able to distinguish an item made of 100% cashmere from that which only contains a small part of it, or which does not contain any cashmere at all.
With this article, we want to try to deepen our knowledge of this precious wool, to avoid unpleasant surprises when shopping for it, and to teach you how to recognize its quality, thus avoiding forgeries.
But how can you identify a good cashmere sweater ?
In today’s market, there are a huge number of different types of wool coming from all over the world and from a wide variety of animals.
Several animals get sheared for the production of high-quality wool. Firstly, there is the Angora, a particular species of rabbit that is reared almost exclusively in China. The Angora rabbit undergoes a special treatment during its life, and it is brushed and sheared every three months: from its hair is produced the very soft angora wool, one of the preferred yarns for the production of soft and fluffy sweaters.
Another animal whose hair is used for the production of winter clothing, especially coats, is the camel.
But the vast majority of animals that are used for shearing are found in South America: The llama, whose under belly hair is used for spinning fabrics; and the alpaca, an animal that lives in the Andes whose hair is appreciated for its water resistance and silkiness.
As far as wool coming from the sheep goat sector is concerned, there are two precious types: mohair wool and cashmere, the absolute protagonist of our brand.
The term mohair refers to the fiber derived from the hair of a particular goat, the Angora goat, originally from the plains of Asia Minor, but now raised without much problem anywhere else in the world. The mohair is famous for its extraordinary softness and incredible brilliance that pops out as soon as the yarn is washed.
As far as cashmere is concerned, the fiber from which it is derived is the hair of a very rare animal, called the Kashmir, which is bred in China, Tibet, on the Mongolian highlands and in Iran.
In addition to the rarity of the animal, there are a number of criteria relating to the shearing stage of the animal which helps to make this yarn particularly valuable and expensive. To begin with, this animal can only be sheared towards the end of spring, i.e. during the hottest time of the year in the regions in which it is kept and bred. And even at that, only the most valuable part of the fleece is used, namely the undercoat that grows under the belly of the animal.
Properly processed cashmere should not be prone to peeling, and the texture should be very compact. Above all, pure cashmere garments have a great softness and shine in the color.
Cashmere is usually claimed on the labels of the clothes we buy,
but a survey carried out in the 1990s showed that the percentage indicated on labels may not be entirely accurate.
In 1993, a survey of labels carried out by the Consumer Protection Committee revealed results that caused a great deal of stir among consumers. In fact, the survey showed that most of the animals analyzed, coming from a very large sample of very famous brands in the industry, contained much lower percentages of cashmere than what was written on the label.
In fact, for clothes that claimed to contain at least 30% of cashmere, 5% was often barely achieved: a lie to the detriment of consumers who had only the label to go by in order to determine the quality of the garment they were about to buy. Unfortunately, the tests to identify the percentages of materials used in yarns consist of very complex chemical processes, which are not easy to carry out, and which above all cannot be carried out by consumers at the time of purchase. Consumers therefore have no choice but to rely on labels and their common sense in identifying fake yarns which are being sold as genuine cashmere.
This page is also available in: Italiano (Italian)