The rarity of the cashmere fibre is only matched by the soft sensuality of its touch. But if cashmere is so rare, why is it today it seems to be everywhere - and available at so many different prices? How can you determine the true luxury quality?
Are you getting the correct fibre in your cashmere diet?
Two cashmere sweaters sit side by side on a shelf at a retailer. They appear to be the same colour and cut. The tags both show that they're the same ply - BUT! one costs more than the other. What's the difference? Let's start at the very beginning...the fibre that went into the yarn in the first place.
All cashmere fibre comes from the finest under hair beneath the thick exterior coat of the Cashmere goat living on the frigid plateaus of Mongolia and China (it takes the under hair of at least 3 goats to create one sweater) The rarity of this fibre and the difficult conditions under which it is gathered is one of the reasons as to why cashmere is so precious.
Spinners have the option as to which grade of cashmere they buy in and spinners Todd & Duncan, Scotland & Hinchcliffe, Yorkshire only accept a small fraction of the harvested raw fibre for processing into yarn...they only accept the best. Anything less than their top class specifications for cashmere will be weaker and result in quick pilling with wear, and the longevity of the garment is largely compromised. It's the integrity of the fibre you start with that counts and anything less than the best will result in a far inferior yarn.
Many of the knitwear manufacturers in Scotland (the ones that have managed to survive that is) have been manufacturing since the late 19th Century. The ones who still seem to be flourishing today tend to be those ones who have not compromised their quality for cost. William Lockie & co are no exception to this. They still use the traditional skills that have produced the best knitwear in the world for hundreds of years. There is no cut and sew, no whole garment machines, every single jumper goes through around 30 processes til it is complete. There are no cutting corners here. All the garments are fully fashioned, knitted at a tight tension (which means more yarn is used) so that the garments keep their shape and wear so much better.
Within William Lockie they have generations of families who have transferred skills down to each other. More importantly these people pass down an understanding of the traditional skills used to create the best knitwear in the world and a sense of pride that what they are doing is truly special and unique.
There's only one guarantee of the highest standard: Cashmere made in Scotland.
A small guide to finding an authentic made in Scotland piece that will stand the test of time.
1. Look: look for that all important made in Scotland hangtag. Sometimes they are removed so the best place to check is the content label on the side seam and you will find an address of the manufacturer or a country of origin. Be careful for those advertising themselves as "designed in Scotland" these are most certainly not "made in Scotland. Also check the label for composition, they have to tell you if the garment is 100% cashmere, 80% cashmere/20% silk etc.
2. Touch: Beware of a garment that feels overly soft and almost greasy. This is a result of over processing of the fibre and could result in quick pilling, premature wear and loss of shape. Authentic Scottish made Cashmere will feel soft and smooth but never buttery.
Cashmere Made in Scotland is a symbol of the most luxurious and best wearing Cashmere available in the world. When we sourced our cashmere products we made sure that we used a company who is dedicated to quality, heritage and care, and this is what we believe we have in our William Lockie cashmere.