Everyone has heard of cashmere, but it is one of those things that is often avoided due to its high price tag.
While cashmere is a soft and luxurious material, people are often put off due to the fact that it is so expensive. You can be sure to find cashmere in any high end clothing store, but why is it so expensive?
In this article, we are going to tell you everything that you know about cashmere and why it is so expensive.
We are also going to take a look at what exactly it is, where it comes from, and how it is made, to give you a better understanding of its higher price point.
What is Cashmere?
If you didn’t already know, cashmere is one of the softest and most luxurious forms of wool, and it is characterized by its fine fibers that are almost silky.
It is considered to be one of the most high-end fibers, and pure cashmere can be very expensive due to the involved production process, where the fibers are separated by hand from the molted coats of goats.
Where Does Cashmere Come From?
Cashmere comes from cashmere goats and pashmina goats. It will generally be shown from the underside of the goat’s neck region.
Cashmere grows best during the winter time, and this is because the cashmere coat is designed to keep the animals warm during the colder months.
Cashmere goats actually produce two types of hair, which are the hair of the soft undercoat and the hair of the rougher outer coat. The undercoat is what is used for cashmere.
Cashmere goats live all around the world, but there are larger populations of them in China, Mongolia, and Iran as the temperatures vary wildly in those regions.
Why is Cashmere So Expensive?
The term cashmere was actually first introduced in the 16th century to describe the shawls that were spun by Kashmiri Craftsmen on the silk route bound for India. Authentic cashmere fiber is made from the soft undercoat hair of the Kashmiri Goats. In comparison to other types of wool, cashmere is softer, finer, lighter, and stronger, which are what makes it the most luxurious and expensive natural textile.
If you are wondering why cashmere is so expensive, then you have come to the right place. We are going to leave some of the reasons why cashmere is so expensive below for you to read about.
Cashmere goats are actually quite rare, which is one of the reasons why it is so expensive. Cashmere is a precious fiber that can’t be found in many places around the world, and it only represents around 0.5% of wool production. Cashmere usually comes from the Himalayas, China, and Mongolia. It also takes six months of long winter to obtain cashmere.
Cashmere is quite limited when it comes to production. Under normal circumstances, it would take around 2 to 3 goats to make a scarf. So, if you were to comb the wool off of one cashmere goat, it would take you 4 years to get one standard-sized scarf.
cashmere pashmina weaving
Cashmere fiber is collected from millions of goats that live in the different parts of Mongolia and China, but it takes much longer to produce than other types of wool.
As well as the limited production, it is also a material that is in high demand, and without the higher cost of cashmere, it would be difficult to keep up with demand.
Cashmere Is A Warm Material
Due to the fact that it is made from the soft undercoat hair of the goat, which is close to the skin, the products that it can create are warmer and softer than any other type of wool.
The fiber that is combed from the neck area is often used for fine knitwear, whereas the overall collected hair is much less. This type of wall is called cashmere at 19 microns or less, and it results in some of the warmest clothing materials that you can find. Interestingly, it is 8 times warmer than sheep’s wool.
Cashmere is Seasonal
As you might have already gathered, cashmere is a material that can only be created seasonally. Every year, between the months of March to May, Kashmiri goats will go through a process that is called moulting. This means that they will naturally create a mixture of coarse and fine hair on their undercoats.
Manufacturers will have to wait throughout the year to receive their orders, and this wool can only be collected at certain times throughout the year.
When it does finally get to the market, it sells very quickly. Therefore, stock is always limited, and the buying process is pretty much first come, first served.
Cashmere Involves Some Intense Work
The look, feel, and quality of cashmere is something that is difficult to compete with, but it will also depend on the processing of wool. This process requires a lot of hard work from sheering the goats to separating and sorting each strand of the hair individually by hand.
All of this will then be followed by a skilled artisan that will also add to the overall cost of cashmere products. It takes days, or even months and years in some cases, to prepare a single pashmina shawl.
How Is Cashmere Made?
The production and manufacturing process of cashmere is complex. First, the goats will naturally shed their coats in the spring.
The wool then needs to be gathered by either combing the coat of the goat, which typically yields less coarse hair, or the woll can be shorn, which results in much more of the rough overcoat.
This will then need to be de-haired later. Most cashmere is made by combing, as it yields a higher quality cashmere.
Once the wool has been gathered, the coarse hairs must be separated from the fine hairs and the soft undercoat hairs. The softer hairs are what eventually become cashmere.
The remaining fibers will be assembled into bales that are spun into yarn, which is then dyed and knit or woven into fabric.