Tender, Love & Design
As experts of all things cashmere here at MILK Cashmere, we wanted to give you an insight into why cashmere is so exclusive and special. Our brand was founded on a love for this material and how unique it is.
Cashmere is revered the world over for its attributes of providing warmth, super softness and resilience. The labour intensive process of hand weaving cashmere is a process said to have emanated from Nepalese and Persian tribes hundreds of years ago, where temples and mosques would use cashmere as a valued and important source of insulation. To be classed as cashmere, the wool needed to be taken from the mountain goats of the Chyrangra Mountains.
This practice quickly spread to nearby nations such as China, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey. Modern day Kashmir now exists in India, Pakistan and China. Handmade cashmere shawls were pivitol during these times, to protect those from bitter and long winters.
This practice of creating such garments from cashmere wool remained in this part of the word almost exclusively until the 14th Century when explorers started to visit the region and discovered its properties and how superior it was to sheep’s wool. Such was the onus on the quality of cashmere, that political and religious ceremonies in India and Iran were sometimes defined by the quality and quantity of the cashmere shawls present, and those who did not possess these were often looked down upon by the upper echelons of society. Such figures as Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte were characterised by their love of cashmere shawls, coats and gloves and this helped to spread this image to other areas of aristocratic social circles in the West.
Cashmere has a global production level of less than 10,000 metric tonnes making it far lower than the other materials in the fashion industry. In order to get the full benefits of cashmere, the wool should be sheared from a genuine cashmere goat.
Aside from the quality of the wool and how hard it is to source, there is then the labour that is involved with transforming this from goat’s wool into something wearable. The look and feel of a cashmere garment will depend heavily on how it has been processed and nurtured. Genuine cashmere also costs so much to produce due to the fact that cashmere goats are only sheared during their moulting season in spring. So, the producers in question need to take full advantage of this time of year and this can often mean paying over the odds for the product at certain times of year.