Warmth and softness
Cashmere has always aroused an unparalleled fascination as it combines style with softness and warmth. Soft, elastic and wear-resistant, it has the ability to protect from heat and cold and it has high breathable properties.
This high-quality fibre is obtained from Hircus goat fleece. Native to the mountainous regions of Asia, the cashmere goat is today bred mainly in China, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Iran.
To defend itself from the harsh climate, the Hircus goat develops a double coat: a longer and coarser superficial layer composed of coarse hairs, and the duvet, softer and finer, from which cashmere is obtained. The most precious cashmere in the world is obtained in Mongolia, where the cold temperatures encourage the growth of the undercoat.
The consistency of the raw material varies according to age: baby cashmere, the duvet of young goats, is considered the most precious cashmere because of its finesse. The value of the raw material is also established by the color: the lighter and brighter the fiber is, the higher its value.
Menchi selects this fiber with a warm and soft touch from Chinese and mongolian farms to ensure an unparalleled quality of the raw material in full compliance with ethical and environmental standards.
The history and origin of Cashmere
Seducer of merchants, aristocrats, rulers of the East and the West, cashmere is now particularly appreciated in the fashion industry for its versatility.
The use of this precious raw material has ancient origins: the Roman nobles loved wearing cashmere shawls as a symbol of high social status. Towards the end of the XIIIth century Marco Polo told of the extraordinary properties, the beauty and softness of the precious fleeces worn by the Turkmen and Tartars.
Cashmere chiefs were initially reserved for Eastern rulers only. In 1400, the Sultan of Kashmir was the first to promote the entry of the luxurious fibre at court by making the finest Pashmina, garments of unparalleled lightness. Then, these precious fabrics emerged from the exclusivity of the courts to become part of the life of the richer classes.
In the XIXth century, this fibre spread in Europe becoming a real fashion thanks to Napoleon’s wife and Queen Victoria, enchanted by the unique softness of the fabric. Despite having crossed times and borders, cashmere still reflects the oldest manufacturing traditions that bind the Eastern and Western world.
The collection of cashmere wool takes place during the spring moulting of the goat: from a single Hircus goat, we can obtain 150-200 grams of duvet, a very small quantity that determines the high price of this precious material. The most common technique is the combing of the fleece that is separated from the root with a special hook comb to obtain the most valuable part of the hair. This procedure is harmless to the animal and it is repeated twice after 3 to 4 weeks.
Once collected, the fibre is separated from impurities first manually and then through washes in order to obtain a homogeneous colour. After drying, cashmere is ready for spinning processes, weaving and finishing, creating a soft and quality fabric.
For the creation of a single cashmere sweater, you need at least 4 Hircus goats while a single sheep is enough to obtain five wool sweaters. This is why cashmere has always been reserved for a few luxury fashion houses.
Today the demand has increased exponentially: for this reason, the textile industry is increasingly engaged in the production of fabrics with greater attention to sustainability, using regenerated cashmere. Menchi, who already used reclaimed items, decided to certify the recycled cashmere fabric with the Chamber of Commerce of Prato obtaining the “Cardato recycled” certification.