Cashmere, which is an exceptionally silky material, is one of the most luxurious and rarely found fibers produced by private label clothing manufacturers. It is regarded to be three times warm as compared to wool and is believed to be long-lasting.
Where is Cashmere Obtained from?
The production of cashmere is believed to have started during the 13th century, in Kashmir. Until then, shawls made of cashmere were widely used by the rulers of India and Iran, mainly for political and religious occasions. It is during the 18th century that Europeans discovered cashmere and exported it to Europe, mainly to France and Scotland. The popularity of this fabric then exploded.
How is Cashmere Made?
Cashmere is obtained from goats and not from sheep. Even though the soft cashmere fiber can be taken from any type of goat, there is a particular nomadic breed of goat that has very fine hair. This breed is mainly found in Iran, Tibet, Northern India, Mongolia, and Afghanistan. These goats usually have less fat for protecting them during the winter season, especially in the arid plain areas. They develop fleecy and soft fibers on their bodies, mainly on the underbelly, which is used to make cashmere.
These goats naturally shed their coats when their body temperature rises. This makes the producers comb out the fine hair out of their bodies, sort it perfectly and send it to be cleaned, baled and shipped to sellers.
How Do Cashmere Affects the Environment?
Because the cashmere material is so rare, the fabrics made of cashmere were initially very expensive. Those were fabrics that were really invested in by people. With the advantage of cashmere fabrics getting softer with time, those were passed on to the next generation.
But with the commencement of fast fashion, finding cashmere beanies, crewnecks and scarfs have become easy to find for competitive prices.
Many top sustainable and ethical fashion pioneers have stopped the use of virgin cashmere fiber and started to work only with cashmere that is recycled.
Checking the brand before buying cashmere is always recommended if transparency is a concern for you. Good brands can give you information about the source of the material and more details about its processing.
Cashmere is a biodegradable fabric which is better than many other synthetic fabrics available in the market. But after considering the social as well as environmental impacts of producing cashmere unethically, it is always recommended to buy only reused or recycled cashmere.