Welcome back to our Journal for another deep dive into the world of cashmere. This time we want to provide you with some tips to discern authentic cashmere garments from those hybrids and fakes that are flooding the market nowadays.
Why is cashmere so precious?
First, a little step back to the origins. For those who still haven’t read our article on “How to take care of cashmere”, cashmere is a yarn that comes from the hair of a limited variety of goats. What makes cashmere so precious is actually its rarity, when you think that the hair of one goat – shed only once a year – may not be enough to make one of our Cashmere Sleeveless Cardigans.
A fine cashmere garment must pass four tests:
Since "rare" almost always equals "expensive", it is crucial that you put yourself in a position to understand whether what you are paying for is an authentic 100% cashmere garment.
If you ever wondered what a cashmere goat looked like, here you have one.
1. The visual test a.k.a. Seeing is believing
It may look silly to say but the first thing you need to look at is the label. Genuine cashmere products label will clearly state (in most countries, by law) that the garment is made of 100% cashmere. Lower percentages or absence of the label must trigger the first alarm.
2. The Touch & Feel test
Once you’ve checked the label, your next move is to touch the cashmere to experience that unique soft feel that distinguish it from other natural wools and fibers. Cashmere fibers owe their softness to their incredibly fine diameter which can reach as low as 15 microns (imagine that a human hair is around 30 microns!) as well as to their irregular shape which make them stick together to avoid the rough and coarse feeling typical of fabrics made of straight and rigid fibers. Just rub the garment on your cheek or caress it with your hand. You should be worrying only if you feel that the garment gives you a scratchy or stinging sensation.
3. The “Dye” hard test
They say that “all that glitter is not gold”. Well maybe for cashmere that may not be entirely true. A rich and vivid color is a clear sign of a high-quality yarn used to make your cashmere garment so keep an eye (or two) on it!
4. The smell test a.k.a. Cashmere on fire
We know it may sound a bit weird, but yes, cashmere has got its own trial by fire. Take a pinch of fibers from the garment and press them together to form a small but slightly thicker thread; then light it on fire. Genuine cashmere is fire-resistant, so it will shrink and smell like burnt hair; synthetic fibers, on the other hand, will burn much quicker and produce black smoke and plastic smell.
We have left this test until last more as a curiosity than something that you should actually try to do to prove the authenticity of cashmere.
In fact, we advise you not to try it at home or even less when you are at the store looking for a brand-new cashmere garment to add to your wardrobe.