French leader of cashmere coats

Cashmere

Few words about cashmere…

Cashmere comes from the hairs of a goat called Capra Hircus. You can find this animal in the Himalayan region in Asia and in the steppes of Mongolia at an average altitude of 4000 meters. It produces a particularly fine wool, so soft and warm that it protects it against cold weather ( it is not unusual to see temperatures drop below - 40 ° C!).

China is the world's largest producer of cashmere (90% of production is concentrated in the Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia)

At the beginning ... The Indian shawl

Originally Cashmere comes from the Kashmir region in India. It is reserved for men who wear a rectangular cloth (shawl) as a belt or a turban. Its introduction in Europe is not exactly dated. However we can mention three specific events that seem to have contributed to the democratization of this material: firstly the traders of the Silk Road from Asia, then the sailors in the discovery of India in the 16th century and finally the officers of Napoleon's Egyptian campaigns. In the 18th century in Europe, the shawl becomes an essential element of the wardrobe of the female bourgeoisie.

Gradually, the manufacture of cashmere will shift from the region of Kashmir to the Chinese side of the Himalayas, so that nowadays, India is nothing but a marginal manufacturer of this material.

From goat to coat

When it gets warmer in spring, goats naturally moult. They are then trimmed to retrieve the precious wool, which is between 125g and 175g of hair per year. The wool is then sorted, cleaned, washed and bleached (often using a preparation based on rice flour).

The fiber is then dyed: the lighter the color, the longer and expensive will be the process (white cashmere is on average 30% more expensive than black cashmere).

In reality, there are three possibilities for dying cashmere: either straight at the beginning when the wool is collected, or when the threads of wool are generated, or finally by dying the tissue at the very end. The choice of one or another of the processes determines the final quality of the cashmere. The best quality is obtained when the dying is done at the source i.e. at the beginning when the wool is collected. It is this process that is used for our cashmere.


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