Tweed is woven into the fabric of Scotland’s history, but cashmere - tweed’s famously luxurious cousin - also has a long history as a Scottish textile that benefits from being made in a nation of craftsmen. Made from goat’s wool instead of sheep’s wool, cashmere is supremely soft and durable but requires a more gentle hand in its production. Cashmere accessories are a timeless addition to any wardrobe.
This fabulous fabric is named after nomadic goats that inhabit the Kashmir region of northern India, Nepal, and the Himalayan mountains. These animals were particularly well adapted to the harsh winters with coats nourished by the lush grasses found each Summer.
One story of cashmere’s origin offers that the famous saint, Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani visited the Kashmir region in the 14th Century, and discovered the impressive warmth and fine grade of their goat’s wool. He is said to have hand combed the wool and made a pair of socks using only the finest undercoat fibers, then gave them to the king of Kashmir, Sultan Qutubdin. This impressive, handmade gift had quite an impact and led to the rise of cashmere’s popularity across the continent.
The production of Scottish cashmere didn’t begin until much much later, around the mid-1800s, alongside the evolution of Tweed during the Industrial Revolution. Scottish Cashmere is processed and produced in the Highlands, where the processing of the delicate fiber benefits from the purity of the water. As cashmere has taken off as a luxury product to have, Scotland has become famous for its knitwear in cashmere. Scarves and accessories are a popular choice for Scottish cashmere
4 things you Should Know About Cashmere and Scottish Cashmere
There are actually three different grades of cashmere, reflecting the fineness of the goat’s wool used. The finer (smallest width) the hair, the sturdier, softer, and more long-lasting the fabric. This is why grade A cashmere is generally priced much more exclusively than C grade.
A grade of A denotes the use of the finest (smallest) fibers — hair as low as 14 microns in width. B grade Cashmere is in the middle, measuring around 18-19 microns. C is the lowest quality, measuring around 30 microns width per cashmere hair.
The Belly is Best
The softest cashmere comes from the underbelly of the goat! With the best cashmere suppliers, that’s what you’re getting.
Cashmere fibers take color very well, granting cashmere a vibrancy and luxurious sheen. The fibers are so delicate that some manufacturers still dye it by hand!
Shop Smart - Avoid Fiber Fraud
Cashmere is a luxury product, and that tends to come with a higher price point. If you see a deal for a cashmere sweater that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The laborious nature of cashmere production and the rarity of appropriate wool means that so-called “fiber fraud” is sweeping the garment industry. Some manufacturers mix 100% pure cashmere fibers with fibers from yak or acrylic and other recycled fibers and label them 100% cashmere. In other cases, poorer quality cashmere can be made when the castoffs from cashmere production are respun.
It helps to know where your cashmere is made, another benefit to Scottish production of cashmere. Regulatory agencies, like the Scottish Cashmere Producers Association, try to ensure that shoppers are getting the product as advertised.
J&L Tweed always uses 100% pure cashmere, dedicated to preserving each product as an heirloom addition to your wardrobe. The time-honored traditions of Scottish wool milling are present in every J&L Tweed product.
J&L Tweeds (and Cashmere) with a Twist
We take great pride in our efforts to bring tweed and cashmere to the forefront of today’s fashion. Our products are uniquely designed with vibrant, raw-wool-dyed patterns and deliciously soft to the touch.
We invite you to check out our exclusive, highly curated products to see if they’re the perfect heirloom addition to your wardrobe. We think you’ll love what you find.