Cashmere has always been on the agenda here at Grana and it’s something we have been working on since day one. Our dream was to ignore the industry standards (a lower quality luxury item with a luxury price tag to go with it) and bring you the best quality cashmere sweaters imaginable at the price point you have come to expect from us.
Well we’ve finally cracked it! Even though we had to go all the way to Mongolia to get it…
Why Mongolia you ask? Well that’s a very good question. With altitudes up to 1500m above sea level and temperatures ranging between -40°C and +40°C it’s the perfect environment for producing cashmere that’s not only soft and warm but also lightweight and breathable. The raw material comes from happy goats that live in the high and dry plateau surrounding the Gobi dessert.
But don’t worry, no Mongolian mountain goats were harmed in the process. We left them just as happy as we found them. To keep warm the goats have developed not only a thick coat of long hairs but also an undercoat of fine downy fleece. Each spring this fleece is combed out by local nomadic goat herders – and really with the 40°C days in summer they’re doing the little guys a favour!
In some countries (NZ, Australia and America) the fleece is shorn rather than combed. This results in a lot more raw material but a higher content of the coarse outer hair and therefore lower quality cashmere. Mongolian Cashmere is removed by hand with bristly brushes that pull tufts of fleece from the animal as they are combed. The collected fibers are then combed and cleaned a total of 4 times (those goats are dirty little kids!). Any stray coarse hairs are removed during the combing process and they are recycled and used to make brushes or stiff interfacing fabrics.
The processed cashmere fibers left after combing and cleaning are called ‘virgin’ fibers. Oh so pure! Which are now ready to be spun into yarn and woven into clothing, including our snuggly soft sweaters.
Want to know more about Mongolia? Read our Mongolia Travel Guide here.fabrics / by Grana / 09.24.15