Cashmere is a fibre that originates from the soft undercoat of the mountain goats within Asian regions, such as Northern India, Tibet, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Iran, and Southwest China. While this luxurious fibre mostly comes from the Kashmire goats, other goats in this area produce them.
cashmere outfits are lighter, softer, and finer than other outfits made from sheep’s wool. What’s more, they can be much more insulating, and that’s why they are mainly used to make cardigans, jumpers, and shawls.
Why is Cashmere Expensive?
The Scarcity Factor
When making cashmere, manufacturers must shear the wool from cashmere goats, which are only available in the Asian regions described above. The Himalayan Mountain goats or the Pashmina goats produce the finest and softest wool.
Still, premium cashmere is only available in limited areas that experience harsh weather conditions. Due to this, the challenges faced in transporting this unique wool raise the cost further. It’s no surprise that only a mere 0.5% of the wool produced worldwide is cashmere.
The limited production of this wool extends to every goat. A single goat produces roughly 200 grams of wool yearly. Producers must clean these fibres before heading into the production unit, which means the wool decreases further in size. It would help if you eradicated dirt and naturally occurring oils.
It is meagre if you compare this production to that of a standard goat that produces 3,000 grams of wool annually. The other factor is that the wool’s colour matters a lot. For example, white, which is the most valuable, is the rarest and expensive. Black, on the other hand, is readily available but least valuable.
The Wools Should meet high-Quality Standards
It is worth noting that only the best strands of wool are used in manufacturing cashmere-based items. Customers will not buy any outfit that does not meet the finest standards. One can think about this wool in terms of particular products, such as a shawl or scarf. For instance, one needs wool from two to three goats to make a single scarf.
In addition to the wool production between different goats, different areas produce wool of different quality. The Himalayan goats are elite and produce the best quality wool. Indeed, some specialists equate these goats with the wool version of diamonds.
The Wool is Available for A Limited Period per Year
When it comes to the availability of this unique wool, it is easier to consider it in terms of seasonality. These goats shed wool between March and May, where they develop a course and shaggy hair layer besides their fine undercoat. Usually, this results in a temporary increase in wool availability, but it is quickly bought. Between these months, a single goat can produce approximately 40 to 60 grams of wool.
Exceptionally High Worldwide Demand
The rarity and extravagance of this wool have made it earn unique nicknames, such as ‘soft gold’ and ‘diamond fibre’. The wool is equal to the most premium textiles in the industry, which is why it’s in demand worldwide. Like any other business, the high demand and low supply translate to a rise in prices. According to marketing experts, the elegance and efficiency of keeping people warm in chilly conditions make the wool pricey.
Cashmere is Warmer than Wool
This wool is indeed the goat’s undercoat, which is why it is the warmest and softest layer. To be precise, this wool is softer than other types of wool you may come across. The wool measures roughly 19 microns, making it incredibly easy and fine to weave into the lightest and most gentle clothes, such as sweaters and scarves.
Notably, 19 microns is equivalent to about 1/10 of the diameter of a single person hair. Pashmina has the best grade of wool, and its width measures between 12 and 14 microns. The fineness contained in these fibres means they can be woven to be close-fitting and provide excellent warmth.
Fibre Extraction Needs Intense Manual Labour
Only the finest artisans produce the fibre required by customers because the production process is exceptionally labour-intensive and time-consuming. The goats need to be individually and manually shorn by hand and then gently transport the fibres to a specific area for evaluation.
The acquired wool is then inspected manually, strand by strand, to ensure it has the best quality. Still, every shorn thread needs to be separated manually for evaluation, and this is no simple task. Due to this careful inspection process, producing a single piece of cashmere-based outfit can take a couple of months.
The fact that one goat produces little fibre yearly makes the fabric pricey. As said earlier, one needs at least two goats to produce sufficient fibre to make one jumper. All in all, the high price comes from the rarity aspect. The scarcity factor means the acquired quantity has increased demand, leading to an increase in price.