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What Is Cashmere?

by Kyle Verbeyst |

Cashmere is the fiber that comes from cashmere goats and other types of goats.

Known for being soft to the touch, cashmere can be found in many luxury clothing shops. It comes in the form of sweaters, hats, gloves, socks, jackets, pants, scarves and blankets.

When worn, cashmere provides warmth. Best of all, it is not itchy like wool.

Cashmere is also finer, stronger and lighter than wool, which explains why everyone loves it.

How Is Cashmere Gathered?

Cashmere is picked during the spring, when goats are shedding. The methods used to gather cashmere can vary depending on region. For example, in America we use combing. In countries like Afghanistan, New Zealand and Australia, goats are shorn of their fleece.

How Is Cashmere Produced?

Cashmere can be dyed and spun into yarn. It can be knitted into clothing or woven into fabrics to assemble garments. The biggest cashmere fabric and garment producers are Scotland, Italy and Japan.

Types Of Cashmere

There are four types of cashmere.

  • Raw – has not been processed.
  • Processed – has been through the processes of de-hairing, washing, carding and is ready to be used.
  • Virgin –  made into yarns, fabrics, or garments for the first time.
  • Recycled – from scraps or fabrics that were previously processed, and may or may not have been previously used.

History Of Cashmere

Cashmere has been around for thousands of years. When it started being used is debated. The word cashmere is derived from Kashmir.

It’s said that the 15th century ruler of Kashmir founded the cashmere industry.

From the 1500s to the 1800s, cashmere was used by emperors from Iran and India in religious ceremonies and political proceedings

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the cashmere industry began to soar as it was introduced in western Europe.

In 1799, the manufacture of cashmere started in France. In 1831 it began in Scotland.

Today, China is the largest cashmere producer in the world. Mongolia is second.