Cashmere fabric has been around since as far back as the 13th century, where it is believed to have originated in the Kashmir region of India. But it wouldn’t be for another five centuries before garments made from this highly prized fabric would start making their way west, with the earliest known pieces being shawls.
Once the fabric started being imported into Scotland and France in the 1700s, it wouldn’t take long before Cashmere would go from being worn mostly by Iranian and Indian rulers to being a luxurious garment adored by highborn ladies of the time.
While Cashmere is a type of wool, but unlike most wool, which comes from sheep, Cashmere comes from goats. And it is the most expensive type of wool available and for good reason. In this post, we’ll answer the question – how is Cashmere made? And this will explain why the fabric is so expensive and so revered.
How is Cashmere Produced?
Cashmere comes from only one place – the undercoat of Cashmere goats. This type of goat is purposefully raised in areas with very cold winters because the sub-zero temperatures cause their undercoats to grow longer. And the longer it grows, the softer and finer the individual hairs become.
Cashmere is only collected once per year in the spring. The goats are either shorn or combed to remove their winter fleece, which is naturally being shed at this time of year already. Combing is considered to produce the finest quality Cashmere because shearing cuts the hairs and this can impact their softness.
Since Cashmere goats have two coats, including a protective outer coat that is rough and coarse, and a soft and warm undercoat, the two types of hairs need to be separated after the wool is gathered. This is a painstaking effort that is done entirely by hand and one of the reasons why garments made from Cashmere tend to be so expensive.
Once the fibers are separated, they are gathered into bales and spun into yarn. The yarn is then dyed and knit or woven into fabric. Only the undercoat hairs are used to make Cashmere garments and accessories. The rough outer hairs are used to make rugs.
What is Made from Cashmere Fabric?
Cashmere fabric is used to create a wide range of garments and accessories, including:
- And more!
Because Cashmere is such an expensive and delicate fabric, items that are made from it tend to be lovingly cared for and passed down from one family member to another. This makes Cashmere items one of the only types of family heirlooms that are made of fabric.