Anyone who has ever owned a cashmere sweater can attest to the fact that there is no fiber on earth that compares to this sensual yarn. The rare cashmere fiber comes from a breed of goat that originates in Mongolia. These goats grow extremely soft undercoats that keep them warm during the harsh winters of their mountainous surroundings.
Naturally, this soft silky hair creates one of the most sumptuous fabrics on the globe, making the fiber perfect for craftspeople who make supple garments meant to be worn in cold climates. The special wool is collected each spring when the goats begin to shed their winter coats. Since the finest hair is collected solely from the underbelly of the goat, herders must take great care when combing the fibers from the goats. Part of the reason why cashmere textiles are so expensive is that the fleece must be gathered with great care. Furthermore, since this coveted hair comes only from one part of the goat, it is much rarer than other types of fleece. In fact, one would need to comb at least three goats to make enough yarn for an average-sized sweater.
Some of the best cashmere fiber comes from Scotland whose textile weavers are famed for their skill in spinning fine yarns. More than a century ago, Scottish spinners washed, separated, and spun the rare wool from its rough state into the shimmery fibers that have enamored garment makers from all over the world. During the 1920s, cashmere sweaters became popular fashion statements among modern women. The classic "twin set" was a sensation among fashion mavens during the 1930s when film stars like Lana Turner began wearing form-fitting knitwear on screen.
Unlike many other natural or man-made textiles, cashmere boasts a suppleness that makes it perfect for many garments besides sweaters. One can buy elegant and cozy outerwear such as coats and jackets made from this treasured fleece in styles and colors too numerous to list. The fiber is so fine that designers can create larger garments like dresses with this textile without worrying about excess bulk. Some styles that are popular now include elegant, figure-skimming wedge-shaped dresses or more form-fitting tank-style sheaths that sport beautiful ribbed and patterned textures reminiscent of plaid and houndstooth fabrics. One can also find skirts in this material featuring timeless and flattering silhouettes like classic A-line, pleated, and pencil-styles. When the weather is too warm for a heavier sweater, one can opt for airy tanks, tees, and camisoles made from finer cashmere threads. One should not forget that the coveted material that makes up a cashmere sweater is also perfect for accessories like hats, scarves, cowls, gloves and arm or wrist warmers.
Granted, most of the items mentioned above are very common, but it is the fabric that makes these simple wardrobe staples look and feel rich and luxurious. The shimmer and silky texture of cashmere makes it a much more versatile textile than those made from ordinary wool or cotton yarns. Garments made from this rare natural fiber are notably warmer and softer than their cheaper counterparts as well. While these fine knit pieces are more expensive than others, it is probable that once a person experiences the look and feel of a simple cashmere sweater, he or she will find it hard to go back to the more common types of knits.
This article was written by Jameson Rutherford, a fashion designer who enjoys writing in his free time.