Like Mohair, Cashmere is a wool that comes from goats rather than sheep. Unlike mohair, however, cashmere wool does not come from a single breed of goat; a cashmere goat is one that has a double, rather than a single-layered fleece. This double fleece consists of the coarse, straight outer guard hairs and a soft, downy undercoat, which is produced by the goat in response the cold winter climate in the high deserts where the goats are raised. This undercoat is shed in the spring and the down is combed out of the goat to give fine cashmere wool fibres – the softest, finest and longest from the underbelly and throat of the goat and slightly shorter, thicker fibres from the legs and back.
The word ‘cashmere’ comes from the old spelling of the Indian city of Kashmir, where cashmere has been woven into fine shawls and other clothing since the 3rd century BC. Cashmere was introduced to Europe by the General in Chief of Napoleon’s campaign in Egypt, who sent a shawl to Paris in 1800. Its arrival was said to have caused a sensation and Napoleon gave his second wife, Empress Eugenie, seventeen cashmere shawls as an extravagant gift. By 1832, cashmere was being spun and woven in Scotland.
Cashmere wool has many of the same prized characteristics as wool from sheep; additionally it is renowned for its soft hand, lightness and warmth. Garments woven with cashmere wool have a soft, silken feel and are extremely light for the warmth they provide. At A Suit That Fits.com we have an extensive range of cashmere suiting fabrics , including plain, striped and herringbone options, which are perfect for a winter suit. My favourite products from our cashmere range are our luxurious 100% cashmere overcoats designed by Senior Stylist Brett Deerans , available in black, charcoal grey, navy, camel and coffee brown, from just £330. However, while you exalt in the softness of your cashmere coat or suit, remember that it takes one goat four long years to produce enough cashmere wool for a small sweater. A cashmere garment is a luxury to be treasured.