Cashmere Explained – How To Spot A Quality Scarf, Sweater, Sport Coat, Avoid Pilling & Wash Kashmir

Cashmere Explained – How To Spot A Quality Scarf, Sweater, Sport Coat, Avoid Pilling & Wash Kashmir


Welcome back to the gentleman’s Gazette. Today’s video is all about cashmere. We discuss what it is, touch on history, the
environmental impact, tell you what to look for when you buy it, what quality cashmere
is, what crap cashmere is, do’s and don’ts, and how to take care
of it. Cashmere today is easily taken for granted. In recent decades, the price of
cashmere at department stores has gone down and down and so more people have been able
to acquire it. At the same time, high-quality cashmere remains
one of the most luxurious fibers you can find to this day. So what exactly is cashmere? It is super soft and it is a fiber which is
the under hair from the cashmere goat and usually, a goat can only produce about 150
grams a year which is only about a third of a pound. It is the only defined under hair that has
a very narrow diameter which makes the fiber very soft to the touch. To protect the term cashmere, the US government
has the wool product labeling act which says that in order for it to be called cashmere
it has to be 19 microns in diameter or less. It can only have up to 3% of cashmere fibers
that are more than 30 microns, and it has to come from the dehaired goat and only from
the under hair of the cashmere goat. Cashmere is called that way because the goats
traditionally lived in the Kashmir region in Asia. Today, you can find cashmere goats in other
places such as Mongolia but you need to have a certain elevation which creates that fine
under hair that is so prized. Cashmere has been exported from Asia in the
1800’s but to learn more about the history, please check out our in-depth guide on the
website here. Today about 70% of all cashmere in the world
comes from China, 20% comes from Mongolia, and 10% comes from other places. The climate in the central part of Asia is
extreme in terms of heat and cold which leads to the development of that fine under hair
in the cashmere goat. Traditionally, cashmere fibers are harvested
just once a year during the spring time and there are two ways to get it. The first method is combing which is much
more high-quality but more labor-intensive. It’s done by hand and the hair is physically
combed out. It results in a higher quality cashmere because
you mostly only get the under hair fibers which are desirable. Option number two is shearing where a machine
is used to cut both the guard hair and the fine on their
hair and the problem is you have both combined which yields in a lower quality cashmere that’s
not as soft. In China and Mongolia where labor costs are
really low, combing is still a number one method of harvesting. If you go to New Zealand or Australia you’ll
more likely to encounter shearing. Once the cashmere fibers are harvested therefore
they are onto the processors. It has to be sorted and washed and longer
cashmere fibers are more desirable than shorter ones because they create a more even yarn
that is less prone to pilling. Today, less expensive cashmere that you find
at malls and a scarf or maybe like just 20 bucks, means that you get the very short fibers
and even though they’re soft, after you wear them a few times and there’s some friction,
you will encounter pilling which is very unattractive. Because cashmere is so fine, it is often spun
but just into one yarn but different yarns are spun into multiple yarns. The process of combining those yarns is called
ply so you may find two ply which means two yarns have been spun together which results
into a more uniform, more resistant, and higher quality yarn. With cashmere though, for example for sweaters,
you sometimes see 3 ply, 4 ply, 6 ply, all the way up to nine ply or ten ply. As you can imagine, with the plys, the weight
goes up but it’s also a higher quality so if you have a sweater out of a 10 ply cashmere
chances are it’s gonna cost you 800 or $1000. Unfortunately, the ply term is not really
protected so unless you can trust the source, if you see a 10-ply label it doesn’t always
mean it’s actually a 10-ply, it could just be a 6ply and you just don’t know it because
you don’t have the means to test it. Historically, cashmere was introduced to the
US on a large scale in 1947 and up until the 70s when China passed some trade laws, it
was a really rare commodity. Because it was so popular and fetched such
high prices, more and more Shepherds decided to have cashmere goats. Now that had a substantial environmental impact. Goats are hurting animals and such, they move
on, the problem is their hooves pull up the roots of the grass in nomadic desert areas
in Central Asia and because of that, they’re responsible for the expansion of the desert
in those areas. As more and more cashmere goats have appeared,
they’ve eaten more and more of the grass and pulled out more and more of the roots until
there was nothing left and they had to move on. Because of that, Mongolia’s grasslands have
degraded by 65 percent. As a consequence, sand and dust storms now
plague central parts of Asia thus impacting the livelihood and the health of the people
there. So what does it mean for you? Ideally you invest only in the highest quality
cashmere because that will last the longest and therefore, you don’t have to rebuy cashmere
scarves every season thus impacting the desert growth in Central Asia. So what’s the best quality cashmere? One, it’s from combed goats,it’s from Mongolia
or China. It’s about 14 to 16 microns in diameter and
it’s 50 millimeters long which is about two inches. As I said, the higher the ply, the better. So how can you buy quality cashmere? Actually, I’ve always found it was extremely
difficult to find out more information about cashmere especially when you shop online but
also in stores. Sales clerks don’t know what they’re talking
about and people just say “oh it’s quality cashmere”, most of time you don’t learn about
the plies, you don’t learn about the fibre length, they can’t even tell you where it
is sourced and as such, you should only buy cashmere from a retailer where you can return
it after a while. Especially if you encounter pilling after
a few times of wear. Now that being said, even the highest quality
cashmere will pill eventually, it will just happen muchlater and pilling is usually encountered
in areas of high friction. For a starter for example, underneath the
arms. Of course, you as a consumer can use common
sense because you’re not gonna get a super high quality cashmere scarf for 50 bucks or
for five dollars on the street, that is simply a deal it’s too good to be true. So always check if your retailer provides
enough information about cashmere and we try to do it on our website when we have our scarves
for example or our gloves because we want to make sure that we source quality cashmere
that stands the test of time. So what should you do and don’t do when it
comes to cashmere? First of all don’t be fooled by gauge numbers
when it comes to cashmere, they don’t matter. Do expect that a retailer should explain to
you why their cashmere cost as much as it does. Don’t buy cheap disposable cashmere that has
to be renewed every season and instead.. Do buy cashmere in timeless patterns and colors
that you can wear from now and for years to come. Do consider the cost per wear for cashmere,
especially if you plan to wear it for 20 years from now. Do buy a cashmere products that best utilize
the characteristics of material. Cashmere is very soft and therefore it’s great
for sweaters scarves linings, even ties, however it’s not suited for suits or pants because
in the area around your thighs there’s too much friction and it will pill very easily. Also, if you go for cashmere socks, it makes
sense to blend it maybe with silk or some other fibers to give it more strength while
maintaining its softness. When it comesvto jackets, do buy a hundred
percent cashmere sport coats such as the one I’m wearing here right now. It’s very soft or go with suits that have
merino wool blended with cashmere to add extra softness. Don’t buy cashmere that is blended with polyester
or nylon because usually it’s a very low quality cashmere and you’ll regret your purchase soon
thereafter. Last but not least, how do you care for cashmere? Unlike cotton, it is normally not machine
washable and is a hand wash only item. I’d also try not to dryclean it if you can
avoid it instead, you can get a baby shampoo andgently wash it by hand and then Pat it
dry with a cotton towel and let it air dry gently, ideally on a hanger, unless it’s a
sweater, that should be dried flat. Alternatively, you can also purchase low alkaline
detergent which is perfect for cashmere. Once you wash cashmere and it’s dried, it
may feel a lot stiffer so you have to kind of crunch it and make it soft, maybe iron
it, and steam it and wear it a little bit, and it will regain its original softness In today’s video, I am
wearing a hundred percent cashmere jacket by H Freeman & Sons which I found
at a vintage flea market for just 20 bucks. It has a classic Prince of Wales
check pattern with nice tones of brown beige and mustard yellow which is
perfect for the fall winter season. As such, it pairs really well with my dark
chocolate brown Polo Ralph Lauren cotton corduroy slacks and my wool vest for my
shirt I chose a custom shirt made out of a light blue cotton flannel and even
though it is very soft it is not cashmere but it almost feels like it I
combined it with a solid brown cashmere high which is generally thicker than a
silk tie and it pairs particularly well with fall winter outfits I tried to keep
the color scheme very muted Brown and falling the pocket square is from Fort
Belvedere it is wool and printed in England and it picks up the colors of
the blue in the shirt and the burgundy of the waistcoat to run a full character
i pair it with trickers boots in a nice tan cognac color
I added contrasting boot laces from Fort Belvedere to just create a little more
interest my socks are a cashmere silk plant there are pros
from Fort Belvedere and their dark green however with boots that reach over the
ankle you’ll rarely ever see the socks my cufflinks are Eagle Claw cufflinks
from Fort Belvedere with a tiger’s eye which is a very nice brown and yellow
changing look to it which goes exceptionally well look at my jacket in
my pants as well as my shoes in line with that I have a ring which is that a
pinkie ring because too big for my pinky finger so bring it on my ring finger and
it works well with the cufflinks as well with all the other brown tones in my
outfit if I’d go outside I’d wear a scarf with it such as this for velvety
scarf in a nice mustard yellow that is very seasonally appropriate for gloves
most of our gloves have a cashmere lining and you can check out all four
Belvedere accessories in our shop here thanks for your support and if you
enjoyed this video please make sure to sign up for a free email newsletter so
stuff like this comes right to your inbox.

100 Replies to “Cashmere Explained – How To Spot A Quality Scarf, Sweater, Sport Coat, Avoid Pilling & Wash Kashmir”

  1. Nice video. Looking to invest in a scarf for winter in the near future. I always wondered what cashmere was. Now i know thanks to this video

  2. Honestly, Raphael, I love all the socially-aware views you have on clothing. You advice on buying good quality cashmere to help environmental factors in east Asia really shows how much you care for people and things generally, really sets you apart.

  3. You are a very different fashion youtuber compared to most others, your vids contain lots of extra info and history delicately edited in. That is something most people would'nt care for doing. You are for sure a quality youtuber. Now I have a question, I am a teenager from Norway (the country where everything is super expensive) and I am a pretty poor person. What are some ways I can look more formal and fashionable without spending so many benjamins, or maybe non at all.

  4. Could you compare your boots by Tricker's to the Loake Burford one day? I mean they look nice but they retail for almost twice as much as most boots by Loake and I would like to know if there are any major differences between them.

  5. Your comment on the colours of the pocketsqare & how they go with the shirt & the waiste coat are very helpfull. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for a very appreciated video certainly you have added to my knowledge of knowing the difference of quality cashmere and how to recognize this fine material I have in the past purchase what was considered a blend of cashmere and cotton or wool but now I'm armed with information that will help me to know what specifics to ask for excellent job on the subject of quality cashmere.

  7. Mr. Schneider I was wondering what are your thoughts on pashmina and do you know any good suppliers? have a wonderful day.

  8. It's Kashmir not cashmere,
    Moreover, Kashmir is a war zone where Kashmiri freedom fighters have been fighting against Indian rule from last 70 years.
    Kashmir has its own rich culture and Kashmir has always been a seperate country where Chinese and Indians used to come to study. Kashmir is more beautiful than Switzerland but due to Indian invasion, the environment remains affected due to strikes, curfew and protests. Kashmir had always been safe heaven for tourists, wonderful people filled with love, art, simplicity and charm.
    People should visit Kashmir and explore the rich culture, natural beauty, and beautiful climate.

  9. wait. In the information about the scarf it says that it is made in Germany, in your website. I thought the highest quality comes from China and Mongolia.

  10. I am not sure about desert spreading out because of goat herding. there is TED talk saying herding animals actually helps stopping desertification: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpTHi7O66pI

  11. I bought a new cashmere sweater. It’s got pilling already after 1 day of wear (under arms, along entire friction area of torso and arms actually). But I was also kept warmer than even a one-sided fleece jacket (think hoodie with zipper). Should I try to wash it to get the shortest fibers out? Or is it a lost cause and just return it? It’s my first cashmere item. I can see the individual threads/knit, there’s visible light see-through. So not the densist knit. But it was also inexpensive (for cashmere), and I do like the cut.

  12. I saw a 100% cashmere scarve from muji that only recommends dry cleaning, hand wash not recommended. Why is that and what will happen if i hand wash it?

  13. thank you for your video! I'm watching while waiting for my cashmere sweater to dry… Bad day today, my cat peed on the sleeve of it while it was drying overnight.. horrible smell!

  14. I have to say that cashmere sounds more trouble than it's worth!… Hard or even impossible to find good quality, pills easily (even the good stuff) & goes strangely hard after washing. Yikes!… I think I'll stick to fine merino wool – easy to find, reasonable prices, never pills, & even comes in superfine summer-weight fabrics these days (which is machine-washable!)….. Thanks for this fabulous info – I was thinking of venturing into the unknown world of casmere. Now I will be ultra-cautious! ?❤️

  15. What to do when Pilling occurs? Do you recommend those little razors that basically cut the pills off or would you rather use a special garment brush?

  16. Hi i want to buy a cashmere sweater from hermes. Do you think their cashmere has a good quality?

  17. I'm looking for a quality blazer and I have seen some "100% cashmere" jackets. This contradicts the advice given here. What would be your view on these… Are these something I could seriously consider, or something to definitely avoid or even a con?

  18. This man is without a doubt the most well researched mens fashion vlogger. I don't much care for his personal style as it is way to traditional for my taste but he knows what he' talking about.

  19. I am a seamstress and I've been looking into using Kashmir in some garments so I was looking for information on how to source quality Kashmir and I came across this video, it was very helpful and informative, and also this channel as a whole just seems so cute, I'll have to share it with my fiance, God knows he could use some of these tips

  20. Is the 98 dollar cashmere sweater from J. crew good quality? I’m on a tight budget but want a nice cashmere crew neck for this season.

  21. As far as I know, if it does not come from the certain region of Kashmir, India, it mustn´t be called kashmir/cashmere (?) but be considered merino, is that?

  22. my ignorant youth innocence is destroyed i can no longer see clothing the same way like i use to now after watching videos like these.

  23. I've been watching your videos for over a year now and it only just occurred to me that your surname means "tailor". Nomen est omen!

  24. I bought a Johnston’s of Elgin turtle neck and it’s not as soft as my Aritzia pullover… even though the JOE sweater is pure cashmere. Why? Will it soften?

  25. Sir genuine cashmere comes from kashmir india and the real name for the wool is pashmina…i dint know which cashmere u r talking about here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *