Cashmere Material Guide

Cashmere Material Guide

Answering all your questions about cashmere knitwear. Where cashmere comes from, why it's special and more.

Here at Derek Rose we love being able to offer a selection of luxury cashmere knitwear for men and women. We want you to share our love of cashmere and make sure you have all the information you need to understand why cashmere is so special and how to look after your cashmere for the long term.

What is cashmere?

Cashmere is a fine natural fibre that comes from rare cashmere and pashmina goats which live at high elevations. Cashmere is a known for its extremely soft feel and insulating properties. These fibres are very fine and delicate with a soft, silky touch. Cashmere is also durable and warm.

As a comparison, cashmere is significantly warmer and lighter than sheep’s wool. Cashmere is often blended with other types of wool, like merino, to give it added weight, however we only offer pure cashmere at Derek Rose.

Where does the name cashmere come from?

The name Cashmere (also Cassimere)  comes from the old spellings of Kashmir, the Himalayan kingdom where wool was obtained from long-haired goats.

What makes the cashmere goats special?

The cashmere goats, also known as Capra Hircus Laniger, are mainly found in Mongolia (often Inner Mongolia) and northern China (in provinces like Alashan). The regions have distinct climates where the temperature varies greatly even between night and day, let alone the huge seasonal variations. Living in these conditions has meant these goats developed special fibres over time known for their lightness, resilience and temperature adjustment. 

Are cashmere goats protected?

The breeding and grazing of cashmere goats are carefully monitored by organisations in these regions. Their focus is on protecting the best interests of the species to ensure consistency of quality and avoid over-farming.

How do I know the cashmere is of the highest quality?

This is a great question and is very important. Here at Derek Rose, we feel it is critical that we understand our supply chain. We only work with the best cashmere yarn suppliers, namely Carriaggi and Loro Piana. These well respected suppliers, in turn, only work with the best farmers for the sourcing of their fibres.

These suppliers go to great lengths to train their local staff on how to identify and source the highest quality fleeces which are often found on the white and paler haired cashmere goats. The colour of these raw fibres is critical since it means the fibres can be dyed more easily with dyes such as plant based dyes. In turn this leads to a softer, stronger cashmere with richer, deeper colours.

The cashmere fibres are processed using leading edge technology to produce the finest, softest and strongest yarns for our Derek Rose cashmere collections for men and women.

How is cashmere made?

Cashmere fibres are harvested during the shedding season by gently combing the underbelly of the goats. Then the cashmere is graded and sorted ensuring one can source the best quality.

After this, the cashmere fibres are processed using leading edge technology to produce the finest, softest and strongest yarns for our Derek Rose cashmere collections for men and women.

Is Cashmere warm?

It is said that the cashmere fibres from the cashmere goats described earlier have a natural insulation level up to 10 times higher than wool. So yes, cashmere knitwear is a fantastic option for keeping you warm during the colder months.

Is Cashmere itchy?

Lower quality cashmere or cashmere that has been mixed with other materials can indeed be itchy. Unsurprisingly, we only use the finest, luxury cashmere so it is not itchy at all. Cashmere is a genuine luxury material and so it should be both a high price and, more importantly, have an exceptionally soft feel. If when you touch the cashmere you're not thinking wow, then don't buy it.

Is Cashmere sustainable?

It is known that with the growth in demand for cashmere driven by high street brands offering the lower levels of cashmere, there has been an impact on both the goat herds and their environment. However, at the highest levels of cashmere production there are a number of sustainable initiatives implemented, including, for example, a strong focus on working with farmers to implement sustainable grazing to ensure the preservation of the land. 

How do I care for my cashmere?

Funny you should ask as we have a dedicated blog post on exactly this subject! Our Derek Rose Cashmere care guide tells you everything you need to know about caring for your cashmere knitwear. 

Shop our men and women's cashmere.