One of the most frequent questions we get, especially when exhibiting in front of curious new entrepreneurs, “What exactly is Cashmere?”. We have all heard that Cashmere is the king of Wool, Cashmere is amazing for winter, Cashmere is soft, and Cashmere is rare and difficult to extract. In this article, we will go through all this point, debunk the myths and establish a proper understanding of Cashmere.
First, One of the most commonly shared explanation of Cashmere is that it is the inner hair of a Cashmere goat from the Himalayas. In a way, this explanation is not wrong. Nevertheless, there are some issues with it. Cashmere Goat is not only one specific breed of goat but 13 species living all around the world. The finest cashmere grower among them are found in the Himalayas and in Inner Mongolia. Every Winter, these goats grow a fine insulating hair which are on average 30-38mm long. This means these hair are not visible from the outside. The hair visible from outside are the ones they have even during summer and have very less insulating characteristics.
Cashmere goats shear this fine layer of hair at the end of winter. This is when we harvest the cashmere from the goats and, in the process, helping the goats in the shearing period. The shearing might have been natural thousands of years ago. However, generations of domestication and selective breeding means the Cashmere goats are unable to do so efficiently.
Second, Cashmere is not King of Wool. In fact cashmere is not wool at all. Wool is the outer hair of a sheep or a goat. As we explained earlier, cashmere is the inner hair. Extracting wool might be in humane as the sheep is shaved. However, extracting Cashmere from goat is humane as it involves combing rather than shaving.
Third, Cashmere is amazing for winter. Yes and No!
Cashmere hairs are grown naturally just before winter. Even dogs and other animal grow them in harsh weather. It is the result of thousands of years of evolution and trial and error. This is why cashmere is so good for winter. It is Gods gift which becomes useless to these animals as the summer kicks in.
Cashmere is not only good for winter. It is also perfect for spring and autumn. Cashmere goat live in dry places. For example in the deserts of Tibet and in the Gobi Desert. The days in these places are hot as a result of a scorching sun. The nights are cold and dry. Evolution has made cashmere incredibly suitable for this weather. As we already discussed, the insulating characteristics helps the animal during the night to keep warm. In day time, the same insulating characteristics of Cashmere keeps the heat out.
Furthermore, If you have had a woolen sweater then you might be very well aware of the damp feeling of moisture after wearing it for a while. If this happens in a dry, hot and windy place then you are very likely to catch cold. Thus, nature has deigned cashmere in such a way that you won’t need to worry about the damp feeling. It is breathable and lets the moisture out. This is one of the reason why cashmere is so good for 3 out of 4 seasons. It is actually a better choice than buying a T-Shirt.
No doubt Cashmere is soft, rare and little bit of a hassle to extract. However, if a goat farm is only extracting Cashmere then they will comb it. If they are also extracting wool then they will shave it. Cashmere is extractable only after winter and it is the only time of the year it could be harvested. These fine hair don’t grow in abundance. One Goat grow around 150 gms of fine Cashmere hair. This is why cashmere is so exclusive.
I hope after reading this article, you have a better understanding of Cashmere. Cashmere is an incredible fiber for winter, autumn and spring. Put a thin layer of T-shirt and then wear a Cashmere sweater; I assure you, your winter is going to be the most comfortable winter you have ever had. Because Cashmere is so thin your winter dress up won’t feel bulky and you will look very fashionable.