Why is Cashmere so expensive?
The very touch of Cashmere on your skin feels so luxurious – it’s velvety soft and like a wisp of fresh air. It evokes poetry in all our minds; it’s a warm, comforting hug in the biting cold. Yes, it’s exactly that. No wonder, it’s warm and luxe nature have been patronised since time immemorial by nobility and the upper social strata. Cashmere is like wine, it gets better with age and intoxicates you with its sublime softness and dreaminess.
There are several misconceptions regarding this fibre. Some believe that Cashmere isn’t expensive and can be bought off the shelves of fashion brands that are selling it at economical prices. If you’re one of those who’ve been lured by this practice, there’s a bubble about to be burst. You do own a Cashmere product, but not a genuine one.
Let’s get this straight. Cashmere is expensive and rightly so. It is a work of art through and through and nothing less than a labour of love. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to sustainability and unlike a lot of other apparel won’t wear out for a lifetime if you take good care of it.
Here are five reasons why Cashmere is genuinely expensive. Let’s take a look:
The King of Fibres
Cashmere has been called the ‘king of fibres’ for a reason, since it is the most luxurious and treasured of all yarns. The journey of Cashmere begins in the highlands of Kashmir, where indigenous capra hircus goats reside. The sub-zero temperatures, soaring altitudes and harsh winds trigger the growth of the diamond fibre, which comes from the downy undercoat of these rare species of goats.
The name cashmere comes from the old spelling of Kashmir, which is the source of origin for this luxurious yarn. According to the historian Michelle Maskiell, who is also the author of “Consuming Kashmir: Shawls and Empires, 1500-2000,” describes that from the 1500s to as late as the early 1900s, Iranian and Indian emperors used Kashmiri shawls in political and religious settings. For instance, in a Mughal Indian court, presenting a Cashmere shawl represented a hierarchy.
The prized capra hircus goats
As we already know these goats are rare and found in the higher climes, but what’s even more rare is the limited quantity of the fleece it produces. A single cashmere goat does not produce this sheer fibre in bulk. You can get anywhere between six and eight ounces from a cashmere goat initially, but once the fibre is processed, you are not likely to get more than four ounces back.
In fact, in comparison to yearly production of sheep wool, which is over 2,000,000 metric tons, the production of Cashmere in a year is about 6,500 metric tons annually.
That’s a big reason why this fibre is so expensive!
Blood, sweat, toil
Cashmere fibres are manually sorted, cleaned and hand spun before the weaving process begins. The undercoat of these coats that is sheared or collected is a greasy mess and has dandruff and other impurities. To clean it and sort out these unwanted elements, it takes longer than you can imagine. The local herders carefully comb the hair to harvest the undercoat and then the good fibre is separated from the bad, which then completes the sorting procedure.
It is only then that the weaving begins, which is equally demanding and painstaking. It takes several months to a year for these gifted artisans to work their magic on wooden looms and weave a masterpiece.
Superb quality that’ll win you over
Now that you already know its origin and how labour-intensive the process is, you can assume the quality of this fibre. Did you know? A cashmere fibre is less than 18.5 microns in diameter. Yes, you heard it right. Let’s put things into perspective now; the human hair is about 80 microns, so cashmere is four times finer than human hair. Besides, the fiber isn’t straight, so when it’s woven, it doesn’t itch. This is the reason why it is also preferred as a baby blanket, who feel comfortable in its warmth and softness.
Oh, and there’s another interesting fact! Cashmere is up to 8 times warmer than clothes made from sheep well. We did know it’s a natural insulator, but this does come as a surprise. What’s best is that it’s much lighter than wool!
As timeless as ever
When you invest in a Cashmere product, you know you are buying it for a lifetime. It’s a timeless fashion choice and will never get old, since it exudes elegance and class like no other. It’s the epitome of sustainable fashion, so you know your money is going in the right place, since it’s the blood, sweat, tears of the artisans that has gone into making your product. And like we earlier said, it’s like wine. Why? Because it gets softer with each wash, just like wine gets better with age. Isn’t that a valid comparison?
Invest in a Cashmere product and reap rewards for life. After all, as John Varvatos, an American contemporary designer puts it, ‘style is timeless. It transcends generations – it’s enduring. If you’re thinking about fashion, it’s of the moment. And that doesn’t mean that it’s not important at times to embrace trends and that type of thing, but style is less about trends than it is about how you carry yourself’.
We, at Pashmina.com, are one of the world’s largest curators of pure and handcrafted Himalayan cashmere products. Each of our pieces epitomises the highest levels of quality and royalty and will make you feel no less than nobility yourself. Our range of shawls, stoles, scarves and wraps will enrapture the world with its beauty and sublime softness. It’s not just the beauty and exquisiteness that we are concerned about; credibility is what sets us apart from the rest. Our pieces are first painstakingly handcrafted with the finest designs and reflect the highest quality of craftsmanship. After this labour of love sees the light of the day, it is sent for quality assurance to the Crafts Development Institute, Ministry of Textiles as part of Govt of India that certifies each product. After all, you deserve a product that’s as warm and real as you!