Nothing says luxury quite like soft, fine Cashmere whether it’s in the form of a jumper, a scarf or an elegant throw. With a wealth of Cashmere products on the market, at a wide range of prices, how can you determine the quality of what you’re buying? And what is it that makes our Cashmere so special?
Cashmere doesn't come from a sheep but from the Cashmere goat, and we source the finest possible Cashmere fibres to create our soft, luxurious products. To stay warm in freezing seasonal temperatures, as low as -30°C, the goats grow a thick coat, the undercoat of which ‘floats’ in the Spring. These long, lofty fibres are combed from the animals and are gently processed to maintain their natural softness. While sheep can produce around 3kg of wool in a given year, the Cashmere goat only gleans around 200g. For a scarf, we could be working with the production of a single goat, and for a jumper or cardigan, it could be as many as ten goats’ worth of Cashmere.
A DELICATE PROCESS
We source 15 types of Cashmere, each carefully chosen for its colour, thickness and length. Mongolia produces long, fine fibres in a grey or light brown hue; China has the finest, whitest Cashmere and Afghanistan has shorter, browner shades. We work with the natural properties of the Cashmere, closest in colour to our finished products, to avoid bleaching the delicate fibres. The quality of the Cashmere is graded on its fineness and length, and a high-quality single hair can be as thin as 14 micrometres.
Jackie Dean is a Raw Materials Technician in Quality Assurance at Johnstons of Elgin, in charge of fibre testing of all the company’s Cashmere and Wool. She is known in the industry for her meticulous testing, primarily done by hand and eye.
‘I can easily identify that the fibre is wool or Cashmere or rabbit, testing by hand and eye, but customers require independent certification to ensure that the fibre is pure and what it says it is,’ Jackie explains.
'It's all about getting stuck into it and getting it done to enable the dyehouse to start their process. It can be quite stressful, but you can't pass it if you don't know it's correct. We always get there in the end. The quality is the most important thing.'
Once Cashmere has been dyed, it is aerated to stop the fibres from clumping together. We handle the fibres carefully throughout all processes to minimise damage and preserve the unique handle. Carding detangles the fibres and prepares them for spinning, after which the yarn is ready to be used to make all kinds of clothing and accessories.
We have worked with cashmere fibres since 1851, and many of the skills and processes used to take it from fibre to finished product have been passed down through generations. There is much more to creating a simple scarf, for example, than first meets the eye.
Many hands and skills go into everything we do.
THE GENUINE ARTICLE
Cashmere has become increasingly popular, and you may wonder why some Cashmere products cost more than others. It may be that a lower grade of Cashmere has been used or harsher processing methods applied. In extreme cases, other fibres, such as Yak hair, have been passed off as Cashmere.
Our Cashmere products are made with the world's finest genuine Cashmere fibres, and our meticulous skill and care, using minimal chemicals and soft, Scottish water, help to preserve its smooth silken feel.
THE BEST IN THE WORLD
Real beauty comes from within, which is certainly true of our elegant Cashmere products. Their allure is not just in their unique aesthetic; it is deep within every thread and reflects our long-established brand's experience, knowledge and attention to detail.
From design and fibre selection to delicate hand finishes, our Cashmere clothing and accessories are among the best in the world. The provenance and luxurious soft handle of our Cashmere are only part of its appeal; the care and craftsmanship that goes into every piece make our Cashmere truly special.