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℃, 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.
Johnstons of Elgin's CEO Simon Cotton explains, 'We are using Cashmere from about 1.2million goats, and those goats are spread right over China, Outer Mongolia and a little bit in Afghanistan as well. For a scarf we could be working with the production of a single goat but for a jumper, for example, you could be working with 5, 8, 10 goats worth of Cashmere.'
A DELICATE PROCESS
We source 15 different types of Cashmere, each one carefully chosen for its colour, thickness and length. Mongolia produces long, fine fibres in a grey or light brown hue; China the finest, whitest cashmere and Afghanistan 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.
Once Cashmere has been dyed, it is aerated to stop the fibres from clumping together. We handle the fibres with care 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. Simon explains that there is much more to the creation of a simple scarf, for example, than first meets the eye.
'There are an awful lot of hands and skilled work that go into making that possible. It is absolutely about the knowledge of the people, the skills of the people and how you nurture this really delicate fibre through the process,' he said.
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 it's smooth, silken feel.
THE BEST IN THE WORLD
Real beauty comes from within, and this is true of our elegant Cashmere products. Their allure is not just in their unique aesthetic; it is deep within every thread, and reflects the experience, knowledge and attention to detail of our long-established brand.
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 is only part of its appeal; it's the care and craftsmanship that goes into every piece that makes our Cashmere truly special.