Quality cashmere apparel is made from Grade A cashmere and long fibers that are obtained through combing. These long thin fibers produce light, soft, warm garments that retain their shape and have minimal pilling - even through constant wear. While there are many economical options, some may be produced from inferior cashmere fibers that lack the qualities that have given cashmere their enduring and luxurious attributes.
Garments produced from lower grade cashmere are more susceptible to piling and losing to their shape. This is likely due to shorter cashmere fibers produced from goats who have been sheared. Shearing produces a greater volume of cashmere fibers per goat, which lowers the cost but at the expense of quality. Longer cashmere fibers are obtained from manually combing only the undercoats of goats and produces garments that retain their shape and texture.
Location, Location, Location
Most of the world’s premium cashmere comes from Inner Mongolia region of China where the cold climate and hearty lifestyle of the animals produces the longest, thinnest, softest hair.
Grade A cashmere is 14 to 15.5 microns thick. Grade B is 16 to 19 microns thick. As a point of reference, human hair is about 75 – 100 microns thick.
Lan Cashmere is produced from fibers that are obtained from farmers in Inner Mongolia who have been raising goats for generations.
The natural cold climates in Inner Mongolia region of China stimulate growth of the goats’ fine undercoat (i.e., cashmere fibers). Goats live in free-range herds like sheep.
In the Spring, when the goats naturally shed their warm undercoat, they are hand-combed to extract the precious cashmere fibers.
Unlike the shearing of sheep, the art of combing out the cashmere fibers – only the fine undercoat – requires experience and familiarly of the goats since the goats are not restrained. Traditionally, women are tasked with this labor-intensive job and are paid fair wages for their skill and expertise.