Luxurious Cashmere Childrenswear (Guest Post)

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Having two small children means that I'm constantly on the look out for beautiful, and unusual children's clothing. Although neither of my two have particularly sensitive skin I still want to be able to find lovely, soft, natural fibres to dress them in. Cashmere could be an option and this guest post will tell you a little more about it.

From goat to coat: the cashmere journey

The kindly Cashmere goat has been giving us some of the warmest, softest and long-lasting garments you can make for thousands of years. Fine in texture, and very strong, it’s no wonder the word is so commonly associated with luxury and a regular favourite with top-end designers across the world. You might wear it every day, but how much do you know about how your favourite scarf or jumper was actually made?

Kashmir wool

The name cashmere comes from the region of Kashmir, which is administered by India, Pakistan and China.
90% of the cashmere of the world is produced in China, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan and Tibet, today only a very small part comes from the Indian part of Kashmir.  
In order to make an authentic cashmere garment and label it as cashmere you don’t only have to use the hair of the cashmere goat but follow and go through different steps.
100% cashmere wool needs to be the fine de-haired undercoat fibres of a Capra Hircus Laniger (Cashmere goat to you and me), with the average fibre diameter not exceeding 19 microns.  The length of the fibre has to be at least 2.5 cm and the average diameter has to be between 14-18 microns, which is quite thin if you consider that the Lana merino has an average of 24 microns. The coarser guard hairs need to be removed, usually by machine. There can’t be more than 3 percent of fibres with diameters exceeding 30 microns, and the average diameter “may be subject to a coefficient of variation around the mean that shall not exceed 24 percent.” Complicated stuff, but all designed to ensure that if the label says Cashmere, it’s super soft.

Combed and dyed

The soft fleece hairs that are used for things like children’s cashmere clothing is removed with a comb, brushed through during the spring moulting season. The coarser hairs are usually then removed with clippers and used for other end results.  Combing takes between one and two weeks, it is done mainly by hand and one goat gives around 200 grams of pure fibre per year.  It takes between one and two weeks to comb a Cashmere goat, hence the price premium on any cashmere product. The yield is then sent for dying at a factory, and either spun into yarns or woven into fabrics.

The end result

Yarns can be knitted like any wool, into hats and jumpers and socks – in fact anything you like – either by hand or knitting machines. Fabrics tend to be reserved for more tailored items like coats, jackets, pyjamas, blankets and trousers. Girls cashmere clothing – and boys cashmere clothing too – are increasingly popular for fashion conscious parents, and everything from romper suits to coats can be found for a range of ages.
So the next time you’re nice and snug in your favourite cashmere cardigan on a cold day, spare a thought for the Capra Hircus Laniger who helped make it.
The beautiful cashmere children’s clothing brand, Cashmirino, have created a lookbook to showcase their Spring/Summer 2013 cashmere collection.
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