Cashmere: the ultimate investment
As one of the softest fibers in the world, cashmere can easily be the ultimate investment.
Widely regarded as one of the more expensive materials to make garments from, there are some cashmere pieces in price-ranges that make it accessible to many pockets. It is well-known for its long-lasting quality and luxurious feel. Popularised by Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife, cashmere became a staple for the wealthiest fashionistas. A humble, yet meticulously crafted sweater made of the world’s finest cashmere can cost upwards of a few thousand dollars, or come from a discount rack for less than the price of a dinner for two.
But not all sweaters are created equal.
knowing your ginst from your geelong separates the best from the rest
True cashmere connoisseurs are well aware that the price largely depends on a few key factors.
The quality of the yarn used, the location of where the garment was manufactured, the markup, and the number of units produced all play significant roles. Out of these factors, the most important one is the quality of the raw materials used. This is impacted by a multitude of other facets, that are usually left unseen to the wearer.
Cashmere is made from the softest wool produced by a certain breed of goats
Cashmere is made from the softest wool produced by a certain breed of goats, such as the Zalaa Ginst white goat and Tibetan Plateau goat. These goats exist in climates where temperatures can dip as low as -22°F (-30°C). This freezing habitat has helped them to develop an incredibly thick, warm coat, which forms in two layers. The first layer of this coat is made of thick, wiry, guard-hairs, while the second layer forms the distinctively soft cashmere undercoat.
Each cashmere goat produces only 0,4lbs (200g) of this undercoat each year, compared to the minimum production of wool by a sheep which is at least 6,5lbs (over 3kgs) per year. The supply of cashmere is therefore limited each year, as the amount that is produced by each goat is so small. What also makes this such a rare material is that the fibers may only be collected once each year. Once harvested, the usable weight halves itself once stripped of thicker surrounding hairs, grease or dirt.
Overall, cashmere only makes up 0,5% of the world’s total wool production.
GARMENTS CREATED FROM LONGER STRANDS RETAIN THEIR STRUCTURE
The cashmere fibers that are collected need to be of a specific dimension.
The longer the fibers, the longer the maintenance of their integrity.
Garments created from longer strands retain their structure for longer. Single-ply yarn is often the weakest, and can quickly lead to holes forming. But higher-quality cashmere pieces are typically made from strands that are at least two to three strands thick. After the pure cashmere is extracted, processing the yarns takes place. Fibers are dyed to the right color and aerated to prohibit them from clumping. As cashmere is so delicate, the utmost care needs to be taken to process it in the best possible ways so as not to compromise the quality of the strands. Once dyed, the fibers are carded, which is a process that de-tangles and aligns the hairs into thin sheets to be spun. High-quality individual cashmere hairs can be as thin as 14 micrometers.
An easy way to see the quality of a cashmere piece is to hold it at eye-level and look across the surface of the garment. If you can see a “minor fluffiness” rising from the fabric, it is a sign of good quality. Unfortunately, there have been some extreme cases of mislabeling in the industry, whereby yak hair or rat fur has been found in supposedly 100% cashmere products. The rule of thumb here is that if you find an exceptionally cheap product claiming to be cashmere, it is usually too good to be true. Rather, source your pieces from trusted and certified suppliers, that set and follow high standards.
The warmth, and luxuriously soft feel of real cashmere is incomparable
The warmth, and luxuriously soft feel of cashmere is incomparable. It is in a class of its own. When you experience the absolute joy of owning and wearing pieces that are made from top-quality materials, designed by some of the top creative visionaries of our times, and adhere to strict sustainable guidelines, you will have difficulty wearing anything less. With the correct care, your cashmere pieces become an investment, which lasts a lifetime and beyond. At THE GUESTLIST, this is exactly what we have endeavored to do for you by setting up our Cashmere Spa.
By reviving and rejuvenating your ultimate investment in cashmere, we can assist you to make them last a lifetime - or beyond.