What does calendered fabric mean

What is cashmere: the coveted fabric at a glance

What is cashmere

You are probably already familiar with cashmere in the form of luxurious sweaters and scarves. But what is cashmere anyway? The coveted fabric is often mentioned in the same breath as luxurious accessories and designer clothes. In fact, the soft and warm material is one of the most valuable natural products in the fashion industry nowadays.

The characteristics of cashmere are its incredibly soft finish, which is a direct result of the filigree fibers that are the origin of cashmere wool. But in contrast to normal wool, cashmere is pleasantly soft on the skin and offers a high level of insulation even in thin layers. So it's no wonder that cashmere is so sought after.

What is cashmere made of?

The name refers to the soft and thick undercoat of the cashmere goat. The growth of the fur depends heavily on the weather: the colder the winter, the more undercoat the goat forms to protect itself from the harsh temperatures. At the end of winter or at the beginning of spring, the coat changes and the animals lose their winter coat. The under hair can now be combed out and prepared for production.

The name is derived from the Kashmir region in the Himalaya Mountains. The cashmere goats that live here come with about 20 breeding forms in white, gray, brown or black color. The under hair of the cashmere goat is one of the finest animal hairs. The individual hairs must not exceed a diameter of 19 micrometers to be called cashmere. In comparison, a human hair measures 50 to 70 micrometers.

The main producing countries for cashmere wool are the Central Asian highlands, China, Mongolia and Iran. The high temperature differences in these areas are particularly suitable for forming the undercoat. In the period from 1990 to 2009, the number of cashmere goats in Mongolia rose from 5 million to 20 million due to the high demand.

Types of cashmere

The types can vary widely. The most important factor is the environment in which the cashmere goats are raised. Goats from the Himalayas have particularly fine underhair to protect them from the low temperatures. These fine fibers are therefore particularly suitable for the production of very soft cashmere. The highest quality and most luxurious cashmere wool comes from this region and is known for its long, thin and straight fibers. In addition to the thickness of the hair, the length is also important. The longer the individual hair, the fluffier and less prone to pilling the fabric.

Why is cashmere so expensive?

There is no doubt that cashmere is one of the most expensive materials in the world of fashion. But why is cashmere so expensive? There are two reasons for the high price of wool: the complexity of production and the low availability of the raw material. For example, only 150 to 200 g of cashmere wool can be obtained from a single cashmere goat, which is not even enough for a whole sweater. For a single item of clothing, the under hair of 2 to 3 goats is needed. The winter fur can only be combed out once a year, as it is only formed in the cold months. So it's no wonder that cashmere clothes and accessories only come at a high price.

What is cashmere used for?

This explains the technical side. But maybe you are already asking yourself another question: What is cashmere actually used for? The wool can be used to make almost any lightweight garment. From light summer jackets to scarves. However, because the fabric is known for its thermal insulation, winter clothing is mainly made from cashmere. Cashmere is particularly popular for this because even thin garments have a high insulation capacity. Soft sofa covers, cuddly pillows and other home textiles can also be made from the fluffy material.

What is the origin?

The name Kashmir is derived from the region of the same name, where the fiber has been produced since the 13th century. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, emperors and rulers from Iran and India used shawls made from cashmere wool for religious and political ceremonies. Kashmir also has a long history in Europe. Commercial production of cashmere fabrics began in France in the late 18th century. The wool was imported from Tibet via Russia to France, where it was spun into fabrics of all kinds, which in turn were popular in all European countries.

Is my sweater high quality?

The higher the percentage of cashmere in an item of clothing, the higher the quality of the item. Cashmere is often combined with silk fibers in order to maintain the silky soft surface and to prevent the formation of small pods, which can nevertheless develop with all cashmere fabrics. High-quality cashmere products have a particularly tight weave because they are made from thicker yarns. To make these yarns, at least two fibers are spun together, which generally makes them thicker and more robust. Rich colors are another hallmark of high quality cashmere items. The strong tones are a sign that the wool has been cleaned sufficiently before dyeing began.

Like all other fabrics, this wool also has advantages and disadvantages:

advantages

  • Lightweight
  • Very warm
  • Incredibly soft
  • Luxury items

disadvantage

  • High price
  • Low availability

Now that you know all about cashmere, you can design your own fabric. Take a look at our sample box and let yourself be inspired by your own design.