Cashmere comes from the white Alpas Goats which live high up on the plains of the Inner Mongolian grasslands.
In order to withstand the bitter winter cold when the mercury can plunge as low as minus 40 degrees celsius in the depths of December, these little white goats grow a fine inner coat to keep them warm. And, this hair is incredibly fine, measuring around 14 microns wide compared to wool which is much thicker at 20 and 40 microns.
But, did you know that even though cashmere is both finer and lighter compared to wool, it is also up to 8 times warmer?
In the summer, these goats begin to shed this inner coat in order to stay cool. Summer in the Inner Mongolian grasslands gets very hot with temperatures climbing over 30C and this is when they are sheared to make them more comfortable as they do not need the extra insulation. After all, we all trim our dog’s hair during the summer, and the same act of kindness is applied to the goats.
But, did you know that each goat only makes enough cashmere to make about one baby-sized sweater (or half an adult jumper) a year? And, that’s why this delicate fibre is so precious and more pricey compared to other natural fibres such as wool.
However, if cared for properly, a good quality cashmere pullover will last for years as it is incredibly durable, making the perfect hand-me-down material in this age of much needed sustainability. It is also breathable, making a lovely winter choice for kids and adults alike as one will not overheat when moving from the bitter cold outside to the warmth of the indoors.
Cashmere has been around since the 18th century, and mills have been perfecting this skill for centuries. And, the factory that we work with has over 40 years of experience in fine-tuning this art form. A completely vertical operation from the goats all the way down to the finished garment, it sources only the finest of hairs.
In fact, according to the US Wool Products Labelling Act, the average thickness of cashmere is under 19 microns. But, our partner has even stricter standards and only accepts hairs below 16 microns with the finest of its hairs being below 14 microns in diameter and 36mm in length.
After all, not all cashmere is equal. In order to meet high global demand for this highly sought after material, a lot herders inter-breed their animals with coarser haired goats in order to produce more hair.
But, at Macnab Drummond, we only use the finest cashmere as we all know how uncomfortable a coarse haired sweater can be. We believe in making beautiful sustainable pieces which will stand the test of time so that they can be passed down from generation to generation. After all, what could possibly be nicer than to hand down your cashmere jumpers to their own Little Ones? Surely our children and the earth which they will inherit deserve only the best?