Elegant Cashmere wool: A Complete Guide

by | May 6, 2024

Cashmere wool is soft. It’s so soft that the human mind can barely imagine it. The cashmere feels like a soft southern breeze that gently touches your skin. But somehow the feel gets inside your skin and stays there.

Pardon me for a particularly unusual poetic intro. But, that was the only way I could introduce luxury cashmere in a few words.

We are Team Muslin Dhaka, a group of fashion designers and fabric experts. We have been working with the most luxurious and exotic fabrics for a long time. experienced a lot of exotic fabrics for our research work. Cashmere fabric is quite different from other exotic ones.

With our cumulative research and experiments, we dug out the most fascinating stories of cashmere wool. Let’s dive into the cashmere softness!

What is Cashmere Fabric?

The origin of the name cashmere is from Kashmir. It is on the border of India and Pakistan. It was one of the main exporters of Cashmere wool. 

The cashmere fiber comes from a type of goat that was first bred in Mongolia. There is no specific breed of cashmere goat, but certain breeds produce more wool than others.

Mongolia, Iran, and China are some of the popular countries with cashmere fabric. China is the largest producer of the fabric.

These cashmere goats originate from the weather, which is really harsh and long winter. To survive the harsh winter the goats naturally grow with long fur or wool. Those extra layers keep the goat warm.

But even long coats are not enough to stay warm in the cold. So, they grow a softer second coat under the longer one. And that’s where cashmere comes from.

The quality and experience of cashmere fabric can differ quite a bit. The difference lies in the thickness of the wool. Regular wool has a thickness of 25-30 microns. However, the average cashmere wool thickness does not exceed 18 microns. But that’s not even the best.

Baby Cashmere Goat

The best quality cashmere wool is from baby cashmere goat hair between six months to one year. That wool has a stunning 13.5-micron thickness. It’s only 0.5 microns thicker than legendary Vicuna wool. 

But the challenge to get the wool is no less hard than mining goats. From an adult goat, you can get 250 grams of cashmere wool. But from a baby goat, you just get 80 grams of premium wool. To make a mid-size scarf with baby cashmere, you will need wool from 4 baby goats.

But is it ethical? Well, there are unethical ways to do it. But a decent brand will always try to make sure to get ethical products. With proper care, goats don’t feel anything after harvesting wool. (more on that later)

At a Glance :

Industrial NameCashmere fabric
OriginMongolia
Other NamesPasham, Pashmina, Kashmir fabric.
ConstructionMade with regular wool construction.
WeightVery light.
ColorCreamy white, brown, and gray.
AirflowBreathable and comfortable even in warmer conditions.
StretchA little.
Heat InsulationHighly insulative.
Shrinkage RatioDo not shrink.
UsageSweater, shawl, scarf  

A Brief History of Cashmere Wool

Cashmere fabric is older than written history. The first trace was found around 3000 BC. But it is predicted that it has been around for way longer.

However, the first notable event in the cashmere industry was in the 1500s. The ruler of Kashmir, Zain Ul Abedin created a cashmere wool industry in his land. He hired cashmere weavers from Turkeysthan.

Origin of cashmere

At that time commercial raw cashmere was traded in different parts of Asia. France is the first country to start making their cashmere fabric. French cashmere fabric was a bit different from the original ones. It had a pattern on both sides.

Most of the time in history, cashmere was not used widely. Only the aristocrats and royal peoples wore it. However, after the Industrial Revolution, more people became rich enough to afford cashmere fabric.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, cashmere fabric entered mainstream fashion. More luxury brands are interested in cashmere fabric & fashion.

In the 19th century, cashmere became very trendy in most parts of Europe. This benefited the regions hugely those produced cashmere wool.

In 1947, Austrian company Bernhard Altmann introduced cashmere wool to America. There was no reason for the Americans not to love it! ( we are diehard fans of Steve Jobs)

In present times, you will always find Cashmere especially Baby Cashmere among the top 3 luxury fabrics. With the rising demand and limited and tiring production process, it holds the position among the most expensive fabrics.

How is Cashmere fabric made?

The production of cashmere fabric starts in the spring around the Himalayas. As the weather gets warmer, the cashmere goats start to shade their winter coats. Farmers start the wool-collecting process before the shedding cycle.

Only soft undercoats of cashmere goats are separated for the cashmere fabric. The younger the goat, the finer its coat!

This is why the baby goat cashmere is the most expensive type of cashmereIt’s also unimaginably hard to collect baby cashmere wool. Remember, to make one regular cashmere scarf, it needs four baby cashmere goats.

Once the cashmere wool is collected, processing steps take place. The wool is sorted, and impurities are removed.

Most of the wool is traded to brand companies. Brands provide the best value for quality cashmere wool. Some of the wool also goes to local weavers.

In the factories, the wool is spun into yarns with machines. Cashmere wool is very delicate, so the machines run very slowly so as not to damage the fibers.

Once the yarn is produced, it is dyed and sent for weaving. As a luxury product, the tailoring and finishing steps are done with great care.

This is how luxury cashmere fabrics are produced.

Cashmere wool historical picture

Types of Cashmere wool

Cashmere fabric can be characterized by different aspects. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Cashmere fabric types depending on goats’ age-

  1. Regular cashmere

Regular cashmere is collected from the undercoats of adult goats. One adult goat can produce 250 grams of fine wool.

  1. Baby cashmere

Baby cashmere is one of the finest wool. It’s collected from baby goats. One baby goat produces about 80 grams of cashmere wool. This is why baby cashmere is way more expensive than regular ones.

There can be two different types of cashmere wool, depending on color.

  1. Natural cashmere

Natural cashmere is creamy white to bright white in color. Natural undyed cashmere is no less attractive than dyed ones.

  1. Dyed cashmere

Cashmere yarn is often dyed black, brown, and deep green. Those are used to make cashmere dresses with vivid patterns. Usually, dyed cashmere comes with a natural color and fits perfectly with any style.

Cashmere wool and pashmina wool

  1. Cashmere wool

We know that original cashmere is the regular one. It is from Gobi, Kashmir, and Himalayan goats.

  1. Pashmina wool

Pashmina wool is from a different breed of goat found in the same geographic area (pashmina goats). They are almost similar to cashmere. So, they are often called cashmere wool.

Grades of cashmere wool-

  1. Grade A cashmere

Grade A cashmere is the best quality of cashmere wool. They are usually from younger goats and come with amazing texture, comfort, and purity. Naturally, it’s the most expensive cashmere wool grade. It’s used to make luxury and exotic dresses.

  1. Grade B Cashmere

Grade B cashmere is not as fine and smooth as grade A. They still hold most of the Cashmere characters. But sometimes, they may cause a bit of irritation.

  1. Grades C cashmere

Grades C cashmere fabric is rough. It’s the lowest quality of cashmere fabric. They are often used as insulating material for jackets and winter clothes.

Characteristics of Cashmere Fabric

Characteristics of Cashmere Fabric

For our work, we sourced the best quality cashmere fabric samples. From our research and experiments, here are the highlights of cashmere fabric core characteristics 😀

Appearance

Cashmere fabric is often shades of white in color. But there are dyed ones too. We examine the natural ones.

Natural, high-quality cashmere is very eye soothing. It has a rich, even color and outlook.

By looking closer, you will find almost microscopic wool fibers floating on the surface of the fabricIt’s about one-fifth of the thickness of human hair. However, the floating wool fibers do not have any negative impact on the look.

Softness

Cashmere fabric is inherently soft due to its fine wool. But it’s not only about softness. The wool has a really different molecular structure which adds an extra smooth texture. The feeling is incomparable to anything else.

The actual fabric never comes into contact with your body because of the floating fibers around the fabric. Those fibers add a loose and comfortable feel. The cashmere we were examining had more floating fiber in the back and less on the top side.

Cashmere wool yarn

Yarn quality

We observed the fabric yarn under a magnifying glass. The yarn looked pretty high quality. Undoubtedly, we had an A-grade sample.

We had mid-quality cashmere samples, too. But they have no comparison with baby cashmere fabric.

Breathability

Cashmere fabric is breathable. It does not cause heat irritation when worn. The fine fibers create more air pockets which enhance the insulation. But the weaving is loose enough to pass the air moderately to create a balance. Because of its unique texture and feel, you can wear it even when the day gets a bit hot due to the sun.

Insulation

It is said that baby cashmere is three times more insulating than regular wool. It’s highly insulating but maybe a bit less than Vicuna wool. But its amazing texture makes it unique.

Stretch

Cashmere fabric has a natural stretch. It certainly does not stretch like synthetic stretch fabric, but has a little stretch to wear comfortably.

I pulled our baby cashmere fabric sample with moderate power. The fabric extends but holds its shape every time.

Water absorption

Cashmere fabric does not absorb water easily. We sprinkle a few drops of water over the cashmere sample. The water floated like a white pearl for quite some time. The water eventually wets the fabric after a while. When the fabric gets wet, it looks kind of like wet cat fur.

Transparency

Cashmere fabric is not transparent. But if you hold it in front of a light, you can notice lights passing in between the weaving holes.

Shrinkage

With a bit of care, cashmere fabric does not shrink or lose its shape for decades. Make sure to dry-wash it to preserve quality.

Durability

Cashmere is long-lasting and durable. It almost does not get old with a bit of care and maintenance. You can wear it frequently. As a luxury one, you might keep it for special occasions.

Color retention

Dyed cashmere fabric holds color very well. The color does not fade and looks premium for many years.

Cashmere wool classic dress

Cashmere and Sustainability

There are many arguments and counterarguments on the environmental aspect of cashmere wool. Before drawing a conclusionlet’s discuss a bit. 

Cashmere wool production involves farming hundreds of thousands of goats which impacts the environment greatlyThis is one of the major concerns of cashmere wool.

Another common complaint about cashmere wool is the health of cashmere goats. There are claims that collecting their wool causes harm and even diseases.

The environmental impact is true to some degree. Cashmere production requires lots of grassland and involves the release of carbon. But that is true for every animal we farm for food. Cashmere goats do not provide only the wool. They also provide meat and milk. If cashmere goats were not farmed, the demand for meat would be fulfilled by farming another animal. That would impact the environment similarly. Cashmere is better as it has multiple uses.

It is not true that collecting cashmere wool from goats can impact their health and quality of life. The collection is done at the start of spring when they naturally shed off their winter coat. Some research shows it even helps their health when done in a perfect time. 

Plus, cashmere dresses last over decades. The longer a fabric is used, the better it is for the environment. Cashmere is biodegradable. 

It’s true that cashmere fabric has some effect on the environment. But that’s true for most forms of production. This effect mostly varies depending on the production steps. The brand’s awareness of the environmental aspect. 

In one sentence, the cost versus benefits of cashmere is higher. We see certified organic cashmere as a sustainable fashion in the market.

cashmere

Uses of Cashmere Fabric

Cashmere wool is perfect for most types of winter clothing. Jumpers, jackets, scarves, and shawls are the most common items with cashmere fabric. People love socks and gloves made of cashmere wool. 

Hats, jackets, pajamas, Coats, fuzzy wear, dresses, skirts, cashmere cardigans, blazers, and blankets are also made with cashmere fabric.

The advantages and disadvantages of cashmere wool

Let’s recap cashmere wool’s advantages and disadvantages. 

Advantages

  • Soft, smooth, and comfortable
  • Unique feel during body contact
  • Durable garment
  • Natural fiber
  • Classic style
  • Safe for sensitive skin 
  • Do not cause heat irritation
  • Last longer
  • True luxury
  • Timeless beauty matches any style and taste.

Disadvantages

  • High-end ones are too expensive.
  • Need special care.
  • Sensitive to chemicals and heat.

How to care for Cashmere Clothes?

Cashmere care is not hard. But it’s special and definitely different from your regular fabrics. Here are some expert tips for cashmere clothing.

  • Dry wash, hand wash, and machine wash are all possible, but caution is required.
  • Hand washing is the best way to follow proper steps.
  • Use cold water and natural mild detergent for washing.
  • Don’t soak it for more than 30 min in the water.
  • Wash gently without much twisting.
  • Don’t speed dry cashmere, don’t dry directly under the sun.
  • Keep the wet cashmere in a flat place over a towel. Keep it in natural light and wind.
  • Wash after every 4-5 wears.

Cashmere clothing

Cashmere fabric by the yard

You can find cashmere fabric by the yard from different branded shops. The price can vary depending on the quality, brand & other factors. One yard of baby cashmere can cost 150$ to over 500$. Most people prefer cashmere fabric by the yard to make their winter coats and custom fabrics.

Where can you buy Cashmere?

Cashmere is a fairly common fabric. But before getting the best qualities and luxury ones, you naturally want to check the brands and compare. There are several good brands where you can look for luxury cashmere. When it comes to luxe cashmere, Italian brands are on the top.

Some of the best brands for baby cashmere are Luigi Colombo, Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna, Agnona, Prada, and Holland & Sherry. You can also buy the luxury cashmere from Etsy Amazon.

But before visiting those brands, we invite you to check our beautiful hand-picked baby cashmere fabric collection in Muslin DhakaWe did our best to surprise you with the most exotic baby cashmere & more.

FAQ

Why can a cashmere cost 30$ and 2000$?

Good question. Cashmere fabric’s price varies a lot because of the quality,demand & other factors. Best-quality cashmere are rare and hard to produce. Their quality also excels many times than regular ones. This is why the price range is so massive. 

Is it ethical to buy cashmere?

Ideally, cashmere is no more or less ethical than regular wool. At the end of the spring, cashmere goats shed their winter coats. Collecting that wool before the spring can even help their health. But there are malpractices, too. Make sure to buy from renowned brands to get ethical cashmere.

Conclusion

Cashmere is one of the few fabrics that you can not compare with others. It’s the synonym of comfort, softness, and luxury. If you want to prefer experience and choose the goodness of life, cashmere is a must-try for you.

Don’t miss the rarest baby cashmere from our luxury collections!

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam

Shariful Alam Pavel, A fashion lover, passionate marketer. Love to share wisdom based on real life experience to enrich knowledge.
Founder of Muslin Dhaka, a brand, speaks the truth about royal muslin and fashion. Explore the digital fashion universe with organic cotton muslin and much more!

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