Cashmere is known for being one of the softest fibers in the world, it’s thin hairs mean that it can be woven into incredibly soft, luxurious garments and it’s long lasting, but it comes at a cost.
Because of the tiny amount each goat produces the supply is severely limited, and the fibers can only be collected once a year. Even when you’ve harvested the fibers the usable weight halves once it’s been stripped of grease, dirt, and thicker hairs and cashmere still only makes up 0.5% of the world’s total wool production.
Once you have the pure cashmere, processing it takes a lot of work. The fibers are first dyed to the right color and aerated to stop them clumping together. Cashmere’s softness means it needs to be treated delicately throughout the whole process, any chemicals or over processing will damage the fibers.
The fibers are then carded – a process that detangles and lines up the hairs in thin sheets so that they can be spun into a yarn. The quality of cashmere is graded on its fineness and length, and high quality individual cashmere hairs can be as thin as 14 micrometers.