Coveted In The Fashion World
Cashmere – made from the processing of the hair of the Capra Hircus (a type of goat) which lives on the Tibetan highlands – has long fascinated as a distinctive material for garments. This animal produces a particularly fine wool that is soft and warm, which protects it from the harshness of winters where the mercury drops to under a frosty -40 degrees Celsius.
Today, the world’s major cashmere producing countries are China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Turkey. Why is it called “kashmir”, if the material does not come from the Kashmir region? Simply because the processing of this precious wool was first developed in the region of Kashmir, a mountainous region on the north of the Indian subcontinent. Thus the name of this region has thus become the generic name of the fabric.
Cashmere can be harvested in two ways, depending on whether the goats are still wild or domesticated. In the Himalayas, when the goat is hot, it rubs against rocks and shrubs to speed up the moulting, leaving behind many clumps of hair. The local mountain people then walk throughout the mountains to collect this white fluff of gold. The goat produces only 100 grams of usable cashmere. For example, in order to make a pullover, the wool from two to six goats are needed! For this reason, in addition to cashmere being much softer and warmer than sheep’s wool (and non-itching) makes cashmere sweaters notorious for being a luxury.
Traditionally, when you hear of cashmere, you would expect some nice sweaters, and maybe some knit scarves. However, the more recent applications and innovations have also seen cashmere being woven – as opposed to a knit. I have created an all-over print for a woven blouse and button down shirts. This is a new, luxurious option for shirtings. It is also surprisingly not too warm, depending on how tightly woven the shirt is.
Another way to utilise the woven version fine cashmere yarn would be on a scarf! Scarves are traditionally produced from a knit cashmere form or a woven silk form. The cashmere yarn is rarely utilised to make a woven cashmere scarf. However, when done so, this results in a super-luxurious piece of art; one that is light and airy, yet keeping you cosy and warm. Cashmere can also be utilised in interior decor, such as a fine cashmere rug. A huge plus is that any logo or pattern can be woven into such a product, which can enhance the warmth and colour of any room.
Simplicio Michael Luis (aka M) is a fashion designer based in Los Angeles. He collaborates with KINGS GLOBAL CONSULTANTS GROUP, which is based in Singapore to produce fashion pieces and, more recently, his own range of coffee (M Designer Brew), and Fine Jewellery Line (CWM). MTHEMOVEMENT- his fashion line is also available at his Malaysian showroom.