Ensuring quality to consumers, prosperity to nomadic herder producers.
What to consider when purchasing a cashmere garment.
The most prestigious fashion brands, that have bound their reputation to cashmere and to its best processing, as well as the retailers who have traditionally made reliability and integrity their business, offer to consumers trusted products at good prices. Be careful of bargains with cashmere.
When shopping it is a good rule to pay attention to the label that is sewn inside the garment which, by law, reports the actual composition. This way one sees that the term “cashmere” is often used to attract the consumer to garments produced with materials of lower value and smaller percentages of the precious fiber. Shop smart and protect your investment in a precious fiber product.
Cashmere is luxurious and fashionable and is also a durable and practical investment. Cashmere travels well and doesn’t wrinkle. It offers great insulation; is warm in the winter and cool in the spring. Cashmere is long lasting; it actually becomes softer with age and rarely pills after being worn and washed. It should last a lifetime.
Good advice is to buy from a long-term supplier you know whose garments have performed well. As you shop you can compare it with a fine wool sweater, it should feel much better, your fingers can tell the difference. A quick test is to rub the palm of your hand on the surface of the garment and see if fiber starts rolling into little balls. If it happens, watch out. Another quick test is to stretch the garment body side to side and see if it snaps back into shape. If it does not, it suggests possible low-quality fiber or very loose tension when knitted, which is another way for retailers to lower costs.
Several things. Silk blends very well with cashmere and gives garments more sheen and drape. Silk is a “harder” fiber when blended with cashmere on the woolen system so the silk & cashmere blended garments do not feel as soft as 100% cashmere. Silk is less expensive than cashmere so a like garment made from a silk cashmere should be cheaper than the 100% cashmere garment. Cashmere blended with cotton will produce a lower priced, cooler garment with some of the characteristics, luxury and softness of cashmere. Beware of garments blended with very low (under 20%) cashmere. Small amounts of cashmere do not significantly alter the performance of the product.
Two-ply yarn is better than single ply because the ply twist offsets the torque inherent in a single yarn. Sweater designers often use additional plies to add weight and color options, but the extra plies add no additional quality.
Loosely knit, limp fabric is the hallmark of a cheaply made sweater. Longer fiber makes stronger yarn that pills less.
The most important factor in the quality of cashmere is the length and fineness of the fibers. Garments made with long and fine fibers pill less and maintain their shape better than cheaper lower quality cashmere and will get better with each wash. Fineness, length and color are the most important factors in the quality.
Cashmere fineness runs from about 14 microns to 19 microns. The lower the number, the finer the fiber and the softer it feels. Cashmere from Mongolia quality, notably is superior to the fiber from other Countries, due to its extreme rigid winter temperature which drops below minus 55 degrees Celsius, causing Cashmere Hircus goats to protect themselves with softer and longer quality Cashmere down.
MNFPUG does testing for its buyers and manufacturers. MNFPUG utilizes the service of some of the most well-respected laboratories throughout the world that are considered leaders in the testing and evaluation of luxury fiber products. Testing approaches employed by these labs include optical microscopic analysis as well as electron microscopy, proteomic analysis (MALDI-TOF, UPLC-MS/MS) and DNA analysis. All techniques except DNA analysis microscopic testing will show fiber content of fibers to ensure accurate labeling.
Become familiar with the real thing. Watch out for so-called bargains and look for genuine quality behind the label.
Cashmere is a rare and expensive luxury fiber. Worldwide Cashmere raw material production is approximately 1% that of sheep’s wool for apparel; fabric and garment prices reflect this sacristy.
When shopping for cashmere or cashmere blend garments check the loop labels and hang tags for cashmere percentage. Sometimes retailers use sleeve hang tags that read “Cashmere” or “Cashmere blend”, but the garments only have 10% or less cashmere. Without a statement of actual fiber percentages, this is a violation of the law in all Countries in the world:
Products made of MNFPUG’s Sustainable Cashmere of Mongolia, comes with a traceability QR code and a Geographical Indication (GI) tag, for you to verify its provenience and authenticity.
The recovery and reuse of raw materials employed in any production is a meritorious and important practice to reduce the environmental impact of any human activity
Al though the cashmere is a renewable resource, and the recycling of a fiber as noble and valuable is positive, the consumers should be able to choose in an informed and transparent way products made of recycled cashmere from the ones made from virgin cashmere.
The garments made in recycled cashmere have a greater propensity to pilling and will likely be less durable. Furthermore, these garments produced from old used clothing may contain chemicals banned today but authorized in the past.
Consumers who aspire to quality garments in authentic virgin cashmere should therefore doubt of products with suspiciously low prices and buy goods from manufacturers of proven reputation.
The luxury of cashmere results from many factors. The fiber comes from the undercoat of goats that live in some areas of Asia (China, Mongolia, Afghanistan).
It is combed from the animal in the spring, in the moulting season. Each goat produces about 3 .5 ounces of useable fiber. At least three goat undercoats are needed to produce a sweater. Furthermore, climatic and social conditions affect the health of the goats, and their breeders, and may reduce the available quantities”.
The scarcity of this fiber and the difficult conditions under which it is collected explain why cashmere is so precious. It is really a rare fiber. And as with everything rare it is expensive.