The extraordinary nature of cashmere

Indeed, cashmere is an unusual material. It pills, it loves water, it gets better as it gets older and…it’s very fussy! That is why YOU NEED TO READ this entire introduction. Otherwise, you might miss out on some crucial facts and details, and may damage your soft, beautiful and lovable cashmere garments!! (We’re sure you don’t want that to happen!)

Let’s start with the pure nature of cashmere

In winter, the climate of the Alashan Plateau is very cold (and believe us, we mean very, very cold), so the local goats have evolved to produce a warm and fluffy underfleece. But once spring arrives, along with much warmer weather, the goats are soon desperate to have this extremely warm underlayer removed. That’s where the herdsmen come into the picture. They kindly relieve the goats from their extra warm fleece with a special comb. Then they sell it as raw cashmere, which helps them to support their families. So, as you can imagine, in this region where 70% of the world’s cashmere is produced, it’s a win-win situation for everyone, including the goats, of course.

How do you recognize genuine cashmere?

First, it is extremely SOFT.

This softness comes from the length of the fiber: the longer, the finer. What you also need to know is that nature does not automatically provide pure snow-white cashmere, but rather, it is commonly mixed with yellowish streaks. Here comes the crucial role of the herdsmen once again, whose job is to PULL THEM OUT, strand by strand, with TINY TWEEZERS !

So now you know: the whitest of white cashmere is the product of hours of strenuous HAND WORK. And of course, this is why it is so exclusive and RARE!

Second, it is WARM.

It almost feels as if it is alive. Of course, your cashmere is not a puppy. Yet, you do sense a kind of presence. A souvenir from the goat that powered it, perhaps?

Third, here’s how you can test your cashmere

Hold it very tight in your palm, as if you wanted to squeeze it. Then suddenly open your hand. Does it pop back to its normal shape? (genuine cashmere) Or, is it all wrinkled and does not come back to its once fluffy wonder? (fake or low quality cashmere)

This should help you see how there are so many different types and qualities of cashmere. Of course, Sandriver is among the best you’ll ever find!

Have you noticed that true cashmere pills?

Here is why. Simply put, cashmere pills because of its natural structure. Its scales are small and do not protrude very much (unlike that of wool, for example), which contribute to its renowned softness and smoothness.

Twisting is also important in cashmere yarn production. Sure, we could twist the yarn even more during this process to completely prevent any pilling.

But in doing so, the final cashmere product would not be as soft or smooth. (So what would be the point?)

At Sandriver, we maintain a balance between pilling and touching at a very acceptable level. This means that your sweater might pill a little, but just a little. In that case, gently remove the pills, either by hand, or with a special fabric-pill remover. Soon enough, you’ll find it will stop pilling as your garment continues to receive the best of care.

So how do you ‘really’ take care of cashmere?

So far, we think you’ve understood that having a cashmere garment is special and requires a bit of attention. There are two recommended cleaning options:

One is using a trusted and professional dry cleaner. This way you’re not taking any risks; your garment stays in top shape and the color stays beautiful.

Another way is washing it by hand, and this requires a little bit more know-how:

- The water must be the perfect temperature - not colder or warmer than 30℃.

- It’s advisable to use a special cashmere care detergent.

- Rinse the garment thoroughly.

- Gently remove the garment’s excess moisture in a dry cotton towel. Do not wring out!

- Always dry out your garment on a flat surface (to prevent stretching).

- Iron only if necessary, using the low heat and steam setting from a 1cm distance.

What is bad (really bad!) for cashmere

-Spraying perfume or cologne at a close distance

- Washing with a harsh detergent or bleach

- Sitting too close to a fire, or other heating source

- Neglect, sadness, eating carelessly, bad temper - basically anything that could cause your soft and beautiful cashmere garment to get stained, torn, forgotten, and ultimately seeking solace in its despair!

Are you a TRUE cashmere lover?

Is this YOU?

True cashmere lovers are seen hugging their sweater, cuddling in cashmere blankets and not getting out of them except if forced into by dire circumstances, burying their face in their scarves and wishing it were a swimming pool, caressing their cheek with a shawl and imagining they are dancing.

We have seen cashmere lovers who are collectors, who have a sweater in every color, and who display them in their closet together to form a rainbow; and then there are those “lifelong” cashmere fans who have had a sweater for almost their entire adult life – in some case for 50 years or more…wow!

To be frank, a cashmere lover is a bit like a cat lover, a dog lover, a food lover: a little obsessed, but one who feels soooo much JOY when wearing their beloved cashmere garments!

One incredible thing you didn’t know about cashmere (but might have heard) TRUE: your incomparably smooth and gentle garment can improve with age IF you give it the proper love and care that it deserves. This tends to prove cashmere is no ordinary material, don’t you think?