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What Is Cashmere?

Written By Pure Collection on the

Luxury, premium, sumptuous... these three words are synonymous with cashmere. But what is cashmere? Why is cashmere so expensive? What makes cashmere so special?

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We consider ourselves the purveyors of cashmere. The experts in our field - and we're more than happy to share our cashmere journey with you, so let's start at the beginning....

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01

What is cashmere?

pink dyed cashmere fibre

Cashmere is only harvested from goats in very cold climates. It's not produced in Scotland nor anywhere in Europe as it's not cold enough for long enough. It also comes from one particular goat, the capra hircus goat.

capra hircus cashmere goat

These goats grow a double fleece (for insulation) consisting of a fine, fleecy undercoat with a coarse outer coating called guard hair. Thankfully for us, the guard hair protects the soft undercoat - this is where we harvest our cashmere fibre from.

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02

Where does our cashmere come from?

Inner Mongolia. The source of the very finest cashmere.

 Did you know that cashmere goats originally came from the Himalayas? They migrated with Chinese herders in the 10th and 12th centuries in Mongolia, Tibet and the northern provinces of China.

Our cashmere goats live on the rugged grasslands of Inner Mongolia, where temperatures plummet to minus 30 degrees, creating the perfect conditions for the goats to grow their insulating, breathable, soft cashmere undercoat.

we obtain our cashmere from mongolia

We use only the whitest, longest fibre to create out beautiful cashmere garments, so we have a lot of thank our goats for and it's really important that they are happy and well cared for.

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03

How is our cashmere made?

Quality through expertise.

We understand the care and attention the finest cashmere deserves if it is to be transformed into a beautiful piece of clothing that will last a lifetime.

undyed cashmere fibre

It's an intricate and labour-intensive process, creating beautiful 100% pure cashmere garments, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  Our expertise comes from years of working with cashmere, perfecting our techniques at every step with an unsurpassable attention to detail, so we can bring you the best quality.

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It takes four goats to produce an average cashmere sweater. We use eight.

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step one: hand-comb

The herders breed and care for the goats following age-old traditions passed down from their ancestors. When the seven-month winter ends, the goats begin to shed their soft undercoat, helped by their herders who comb it out my hand, gathering and sorting it, ready for the next stage of the Pure cashmere journey.

hand-combing cashmere

step two: sort & grade

Once we have obtained our cashmere, we then separate the white and brown fibres - this method is best used for our naturally white purist cashmere, making sure that we remove any heavy matter in the process.

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sorting through our cashmere fibre

step three: wash & de-hair

After separating the fibres, we then wash our cashmere to remove dirt and grease. When the fibres are clean, we remove the coarser hair from fine using a de-hairing mechanical process. 

washing our cashmere fibres

step four: dye

Cashmere harnesses colour like no other fibre, absorbing strong, vibrant tones as easily as subtle neutrals and pastels, bringing an exquisite inner depth to every shade it is dyed to.

dyeing our cashmere fibre

As cashmere is entirely natural, no two fibres take dye in the same way, so it's an exacting science. We dye our cashmere BEFORE it is spun into yarn, giving it a rich, even coverage, maximising vibrant and preserving natural softness.

pink dyed cashmere

If the fibres are dyed after being spun, the dye must be forced into the yarn under high pressure which damages the cashmere and can create an uneven finish. 

DISCOVER YOUR PERFECT CASHMERE COLOUR >

step five: spin

Once dyed, the cashmere has to be carded, which means that all the fibres are laid in the same direction before being divided into strips and fed into a spinning mule where they are drawn out and twisted into yarn.

spinning our cashmere fibre

There are two ways of spinning - woollen and worsted. Our regular 12 gauge cashmere yarn is spun using the woollen method. Featherweight cashmere yarn is spun using the worsted method, which is much more complicated and requires fibre of at least 40mm in length. Worsted yarns are so fine that they are also used in woven suited fabrics.

we take special care spinning our cashmere fibre

It's a fascinating process to watch and requires in-depth expertise and an eye for detail to make sure the yarns are perfect for each of our cashmere weights.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR CASHMERE WEIGHTS >

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We spin 2/28's yarn. Others spin 2/26's, and it makes all the difference.

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step six: knit

When our cashmere has been spun into yarn, it's ready to be knitted into a beautiful cashmere garment.  

knitting our cashmere garments especially for you

We use a variety of techniques to achieve our cashmere weights and the main panels of each piece are made with the latest computer-aided technology, operated by professional cashmere knitters, usually with a 12 gauge needle. Once the pieces are made into the garment, the hems and cuffs are hand crafted to give that extra touch of luxury.

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04

What is sustainable cashmere?

We pride ourselves on using sustainable cashmere.  But what is it?

We manage the following processes to ensure that our cashmere is sustainable:

1) When grazing on grasslands, the goat actually rips the grass out from the root, over long periods of time this causes desertification.

2) The farmers are encouraged to farm the goats in enclosed areas and subsidise their feeding with a hard feed.

By taking this responsible attitude to the management of our cashmere goats, we hope to sustain the beautiful landscape of Inner Mongolia.

we take pride in our sustainable cashmere

Since April 2008, every 100% cashmere garment that bears the Pure Collection label has been produced using cashmere acquired from sustainable sources, and we are proud to be the first brand globally to produce 100% of its cashmere from sustainable sources.

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05

Why is cashmere so special?

Effortlessly wearable, gorgeously soft and endlessly chic, no wonder cashmere is the perfect choice for timeless, stunning style.

why is cashmere special?

If you care for your cashmere (which needn't be difficult), it will last much longer than other fabrics - even wool, keeping its shape and giving a flattering fit for years to come. It's a great investment, and definitely worth the price tag.

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