Organic Cashmere

 
Ascott-Berg Cashmere goats
 

Not all cashmere is equal.

Cashmere, like many other fine materials, is easily taken for granted in today’s globalized and commoditized society. It is generally easy to find and it is more affordable now than it ever has been.

However, there are different qualities of cashmere and there are many different ways to go about sourcing cashmere and producing cashmere. Each with different impacts on animals, workers, and environments. 

We have 2 ideas when it comes to our collections.

1)  to provide amazing quality collections created from nothing but the worlds best fibers.

2) To do so in an organic, sustainable, animal-friendly and fair trade manner

 

Thus, below we'll do our best to explain our process and our commitment to sustainable fashion.

In all aspects and areas of the fashion industry, there are challenges we have to acknowledge and find sustainable solutions for. Cashmere and other fine fibers are not excluded from these problems. In fact, on the contrary, we are starting to see and feel the extreme effect the pressure to produce more cashmere with slashed prices too fast.

Thus, we believe in slowing it all down again and the urgent need to return to a sustainable way of using animal fiber for clothing. 

Instead of producing tons of low-quality cashmere we need to focus on high-quality cashmere. The sort of cashmere from before that can only come from goats being able to roam freely in -60 degrees without exposure to pesticides nor overcrowded barns. 

This is also the only way the best A grade cashmere can grow. The Mongolian climate is harsh, but goats to thrive and living one with nature as the nomads are doing is the most sustainable way of living. And we need to protect them and the land as well as the goats and wildlife.

To understand how to do so it is always good to know a bit about A-grade cashmere which is the one we use and also the most sustainable cashmere available. 

It has the longest and softest fibers (strand of hairs) only found on the undercoat of the stomach of the goat. It’s the real cashmere and should only be combed out once a year when the goat is in the process of shredding its hairs naturally during spring. Sadly taking the fur away from the goat many times a year is becoming a more and more common practice. In the demand for cheap cashmere, the price for cashmere (which is bought by the kg, price depending on the grade of cashmere with A being the highest grade) has dropped significantly. This resulting in a herder/farmer who previously could support a family on 1 small sustainable goat heard now having to make up for the loss of revenue by either increasing the size of the herds (if they can afford it) or being forced to shred the existing goats fur many times in one year. This act of desperation does not only lead to short hairs I.e lower quality cashmere but also the devastating consequences of goats freezing to death without their insulating fur left to protect them in when the freezing cold strikes.

Increasing the size of the herds for those who can afford is also not without its challenges. Landscapes that were before lush and green are now starting to become nothing but dry desert land. This is because the landscape, even as large as the Gobi desert might be is starting to erode. There isn't enough vegetability left to protect the land from sandstorms or snowstorms and extreme weather conditions are increasing with alarming speed. Adding to this is the pollution coming to form larger herds especially in the places where goats have been forced to live in overcrowded barns with food being shipped in form other parts of the land. 

In our view, this is an unsustainable and sad development for the cashmere industry. This is not to say one should not buy cashmere. There are communities depending on the cashmere industry for survival and for the nomadic herders being able to continue to live their way of life in symbiosis with nature which they did before the price of cashmere was slushed. The milk of the goat is also life important for the children to grow healthy in the harsh Mongolian climate and something the entire families often need to survive the winters. We don't want to stop people from enjoying the amazing feeling of wearing cashmere( which we definitely also do) and we don't want the nomadic herders to be forced away from their land. We simply believe there is a better and more sustainable way of making great cashmere while protecting the land, nomads, and animals which is going back to how it was before. I.e slow fashion, where the goats get to keep their fur for the year, the herds being smaller again ensuring no erosion and the herders actually getting a fair price for their cashmere again as well as the workers in all aspects of the manufacturing process being able to have salaries which enables them to a good life. So to sum it all up we believe in fair salaries, fare value for cashmere, organic collections and always cruelty-free practices throughout the entire creation of our collections which is not the easiest nor most lucrative way of practice. However, it is something we are committed to and are working tirelessly to achieve. Our number 1 priority is that our clients should have easy access to great quality cashmere, that's not only good to wear but also good to the environment, animals and of course local herders and knitters. 

Thank you for reading all this. We really do appreciate you taking an interest. 

And if you want to learn even more about cashmere. Heres a bit of info on our quality and how to care for your cashmere. 

 

As you by now know we believe in working with nomadic herders in Mongolia, who has cared for the goats for centuries. Thus they have lived in symbiosis with the lands and animals for generations and know a thing or two about top-notch cashmere. 

Mongolian or rather the Gobi desert of Mongolia might be a tough the place for humans but the perfect climate for the goats to live and maintain their protecting fur; perfected and developed over centuries to enable these goats to thrive in some of the world’s harshest environments. It where the best cashmere comes from and even scathes and Italian mills today buy cashmere from this area and ship it back home to be spun into yarn in their own mills. 

In addition, our associates don't only collect the cashmere from the herders they make sure each and every single strand of hairs that get spun into our yarns are manually looked at in order to ensure its length, softness, and durability. This technique is something the nomadic herders have learned during centuries instead of the machine process which shakes out the short hairs but leaves no guarantees of shot hair being mixed with long. Only the hairs that pass the manual control gets to be spun into the yarn that is used for our collection. 

These fiber hairs can only grow this soft, long and durable on goats that live free and are able to room deep inside the Mongolian Gobi Desert where the temperature drops to -60 degrees Celsius during winter. Goats living in barns or other climates cannot develop this amazing fur perfected in these extreme climates for centuries.

The grade quality is just one of the reasons why we only work with Mongolian cashmere which is not the same as the inner Mongolian cashmere from the Chinese side of the border which is the most common in the world.

In order to ensure good, ethical, and long term sustainable conditions for the local population we only work alongside locals houses who share our values and protects the local society and their way of life.

We are proud of the skillful work they do and are committed to supporting the small sustainable developers ensuring this unique way of life in a prosperous way for both the animals and the people who care for them. 

 
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