What Is the History of Cashmere?


Ana Leung

What Is the History of Cashmere?

May 19, 2023


Welcome to our blog post about cashmere’s intriguing history! We’ll take you on a journey through time to learn about the origins, manufacture, and enduring attractiveness of this rich fabric in this article. Cashmere has a fascinating history that spans decades, from its humble beginnings to its current prominence as a cherished fashion staple. So, take a cup of tea, settle in, and let’s explore the world of cashmere!

Section 1: The Origins of Cashmere

Cashmere, commonly known as “soft gold,” has its origins in the rough and mountainous Himalayan landscape. It was discovered about 3,000 years ago by nomadic cultures roaming the high plateaus of Tibet, Nepal, and Kashmir. These communities became fascinated in this remarkable fibre after noticing the warm, velvety undercoats of the goats they herded.

Cashmere’s excellent quality stems from the fine underbelly hair of cashmere goats, which provides protection against extreme cold. This undercoat is collected by combing or shearing, which is commonly done during the spring moulting season, when the goats naturally shed their winter coats.

Section 2: The Rise of Cashmere Trade

As cashmere demand rose, trade routes connecting the East and West aided in the distribution of this luxury fibre. Kashmir’s cashmere production peaked in the 14th century, and the region became synonymous with the highest quality cashmere. Cashmere was introduced to Europe by traders travelling the Silk Road, where it immediately became popular among the aristocratic.

The British empire drove the cashmere frenzy even further in the nineteenth century. British officers stationed in India found Kashmir’s magnificent cashmere shawls and brought them back as valued belongings. The shawls quickly became trendy accessories, worn by queens and fashionable ladies, establishing cashmere as a sign of luxury and elegance.

Section 3: Industrial Revolution and Modern Cashmere Production

The introduction of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century revolutionised cashmere production. Hand-spinning and weaving techniques gave way to mechanised processes, allowing for larger-scale manufacturing and greater accessibility.

Scotland has emerged as a major participant in cashmere manufacture, particularly in Hawick, which is known for its skilled craftspeople. The Scottish cashmere industry thrived, resulting in the construction of well-known mills producing high-quality cashmere apparel.

Section 4: Cashmere in the Fashion World

Cashmere gained popularity in the mid-twentieth century when fashion designers began to use it into their creations. Cashmere’s lightweight and soft qualities made it a versatile fabric for making everything from sweaters and scarves to skirts and coats.

Cashmere was welcomed by designers such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, who introduced it to the realm of haute couture. Cashmere immediately became linked with elegance, sophistication, and timeless style, confirming its status as a fashion industry must-have fabric.

Section 5: Sustainability and Ethical Practices

Cashmere is no exception to the increased emphasis on sustainability and ethical practises in the fashion business in recent years. With growing awareness, initiatives have been taken to ensure responsible cashmere production, such as better grazing management, less overgrazing, and support for herding tribes’ livelihoods.

Furthermore, efforts have been undertaken to increase openness along the supply chain, from goat to garment. Cashmere is now sourced by brands from suppliers who follow to animal welfare standards and use fair labour practises. Customers can indulge in this sumptuous fabric guilt-free by purchasing sustainably produced cashmere.


Cashmere’s history is one of luxury, craftsmanship, and everlasting elegance. Cashmere continues to enthral with its softness and warmth, from its ancient origins in the Himalayas to its place in the present fashion world. While we admire the beauty of cashmere, let us also embrace sustainability and ethical practises to guarantee that this valuable fibre is preserved for future generations.

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Discover cashmere’s fascinating history, from its roots in the Himalayan area to its current status as a sought-after luxury fabric. Learn about the emergence of the cashmere trade, its impact on the fashion industry, and initiatives to promote sustainability and ethical practises. Join us on this trip through time to discover the secrets of cashmere’s velvety gold.

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