Behind the scenes: Cashmere Plaids from Nepal

Shining a light on the rare artistry found in various communities and to stimulate those local economies is my aim. I think, it’s super important that goods are produced under ethical working conditions and handcrafted in a sustainable manner. The concept of silviagattin.com and in general my brand is to promote fair labour practices by showcasing artisan-crafted goods through traveling the world and thus guaranteeing responsible sourcing and production practices.

That’s what happened also at the end of last year when my path brought me to Nepal and the mystical Himalaya. Hiking along magical mountain passes you are inevitably confronted with nature and its inhabitants such as the yaks and goats that live at the foothills of the Himalaya.  Their fine, soft, downy undercoat is responsible for the production of Cashmere.

Hence, a new project and collection was born. One that consists of delicately woven plaids or scarves made of 100 % Cashmere.

21The process of manufacturing cashmere is a delicate and lengthy one:

1. CollectionHigh quality Cashmere is collected by carefully combing the goat. The loose hair in the comb is then delicately removed to ensure no damage is done to the fine Cashmere fibre.
2. ScouringThis is simply a washing process to remove any dirt and grease from the wool.
3. Dehairing
During this stage any non-Cashmere hairs are removed (such as hairs from the goat’s coarse guard hair). The quality of the Cashmere fibre is determined during this step and this depends on their fibre length and diameter.
4. Colouring/Dyeing
All high quality Cashmere is coloured or dyed at the fibre stage. This is referred to as ‘fibre dyeing’ or sometimes ‘stock dyeing’.
5. Spinning
The newly dyed fibres are now put through a spinning process specially designed for the delicate Cashmere fibres. The quality of the yarn are defined at this stage too. Yarns to be used for knitting will have lower twist and so will require longer fibres and yarns for weaving will have higher twist so can be used for slightly lower quality yarn.
6. Knitting
The yarn is knitted into panels using automatic or hand flat knitting machines. The panels are then stitched together on high precision stitching machines to create the finished article. The garment is finally sent through the finishing process which involves washing, softening, drying and steam pressing the garment to produce the required shape and feel.
7. Weaving
The yarn is woven into a scarf or a stole using two sets of yarns called the warp and weft. The woven scarf is then sent through a similar finishing process to the knitted garments, however some blends may require extra treatments.

 

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QUALITY SECRETS

The quality of Cashmere is defined by many factors. Just because it feels soft does not mean it is good Cashmere. Some important parameters that affect the quality of Cashmere and more importantly the price are mentioned below.

 

 

Fibre length is responsible for the pilling (small woolly balls) quality of the knitwear. The longer the cashmere fibre the higher the tensile strength and in turn the better the product durability. That said, most manufacturers nowadays use shorter fibres, this reduces the price and often gives a softer hand feel at first, but results in higher rate of pilling. Over a short period of time you will notice the garment loosing weight and looking worn-out.

Our manufacturers only use the longer cashmere fibres ensuring the final product has low pilling resulting in higher quality and better product performance. As such, you can be assured of the luxurious nature of our products.

 

 

The micron (measure of the diameter of the fibre) of the fibre is responsible for the hand feel of the product. The finer the fiber, the softer it will feel. The International standard range to qualify as Cashmere is set to a maximum of 19 micron. Most manufacturers will use fibre of high micron with shorter fibre making the product cheap and soft but it will in fact be of very poor quality. This will start pilling with the first wear and look worn out in no time.

 

When you are paying for 100% cashmere, you should be getting 100% cashmere. It is common for some manufacturers to use yarn that has a lesser percentage of cashmere than promised. We have regular tests done to check the purity percentage of our Cashmere and we are so confident about our purity that we offer a 100% lifetime purity guarantee so you can always be certain you are getting the highest quality 100% cashmere product.

High quality cashmere is made to last, so the weight, and therefore the knit structure, is very important. Most manufacturers will make light, loosely knit, poorly constructed garment to reduce the cost. In turn, this product will be low in quality and perform poorly.

 

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Have a look at https://www.silviagattin.com/en/home-accessoires/ or come by in our concept store in Hollandstrasse 9, 1020 Vienna. We are looking forward to show you our newest pieces that will decorate your home  and give you coziness and warmth in an instant.

 

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