Cashmere from a goat has to undertake many processes before it can be made into luxury garments. The processes of fur to a natural fibre can be both traditionally natural and industrial to ensure the consistency of the cashmere yarn. At Ahipao, we source yarn from trusted companies that can provide the highest quality cashmere yarn so that we can knit it into luxury garments and accessories.
1. Gather the fibres.
Cashmere goats naturally moult their winter coats during spring, around May and June. Cashmere farmers then comb or shave the goats to remove the fine hair from their bellies and neck. By brushing the goat, the goat is not harmed, and the fibres have tapered ends. Some farmers shave the goat, but this creates an inferior staple and can be distressing to the animal.
2. Sort and de-hair.
Fibres are then graded into categories of length; the long fibres are the most valuable, and the short ones are less so. Cashmere grades are A, B and C.
The fibres are also usually sent to a de-hairing facility where as much as possible, the outer, courser hair is removed from the inner, more desirable fibres.
3. Cashmere is then scoured, cleaned and processed
This process is much like how wool is processed, sorted by quality and colours and then shipped to mills, open in China or Europe, to be spun into fine yarn.
4. Knit and Weave into the fabric
Once it is made into yarn, cashmere can then be woven or knitted to be turned into fabrics and garments. Woven cashmere is more silky, and knitted cashmere is often more squidgy.
The best cashmere fabric and clothing typically come from Scotland or Italy. Some of these factories have been operating for more than 200 years, such as Johnston’s of Elgin and Brunelli Cuccinelli.
These ancient mills have been processing this precious fibre for hundreds of years, and the methods they use are traditional and secret.
Recently, there has been a significant development in the technical side of knitting; companies like Shima Seiki have revolutionised the knitting industry, and knitting is becoming less of what a grandma does and more the forefront of garment technology. Similar to 3d printing, 3D knitting is taking the world by storm. A 3D knitted garment is the ultimate in cashmere luxury as it is seamless and can feel like a second skin.