Fall has arrived. The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp and it’s time to break out one of my favorite pieces of clothing…sweaters! And there is no sweater better than one made of cashmere. They are soft, beautiful, timeless and can work even in warm climates like Los Angeles.
Cashmere wool comes from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats (regular wool comes from sheep). This soft, fluffy fur-like layer is spun into fine yarn and woven into everything from sweaters, pants, gloves, hats, even underpinnings. Cashmere is also about three times more insulating than sheep’s wool, making a thin cashmere layer your best friend on a chilly night.
But not all cashmere is created equally. Since the fabric comes from a living animal, the quality of the cashmere starts at the goat. These (and any animal) need to be well cared for and have plenty of spacious, healthy land to live on and thrive. The happier the goat, the better their coat. Also, the manufacturing is very important to the quality of the product and the health of the workers who are making your garments. Here are three brands that spin luxury with a conscious.
Some of the world’s best cashmere comes from Scotland. Hawico Cashmere of Scotland (formerly called Hawick Cashmere Co.) has been in business since 1874, producing garments continuously in Trinity mills. Even today every piece of Hawico cashmere is still produced in the very same factory, 143 years later. The quality and timeless design make any Hawico piece an item you will have for decades to come.
Another Scottish cashmere brand, Brora was born in the UK in 1993. Brora uses only ethically sourced cashmere fibers from the finest goats. The company’s cashmere is known for their vibrant colors which are blended using up to seven different shades of yarns. Most of Brora’s baby and children’s knitwear is still knit by hand. And Brora is proud to be 100% British made.
Kinross creates beautiful, modern cashmere pieces for men and women. Formerly producing in Scotland, Kinross now produces in China. But don’t let that scare you off. Kinross is a “bluesign” system partner, which means they eliminates all toxic substances from the entire manufacturing process, set standards for the impact on the environment and require safe production for all workers throughout the supply chain.
*Fun Fact: almost all high-quality cashmere can be hand washed and prefers it to dry cleaning. Check your labels first but hand washing can help your piece last a lifetime.