A journey across Mongolia wast landscapes.

Discover the home of our unique fibers and the crucial path to preserve it’s nomadic cultures and free grazing animals

 

Mongolia, historically called Outer Mongolia, located next to China. Mongolia is an immensely large country. The land area is roughly equivalent to that of the countries of western and central Europe and it lies in a similar latitude range. The national capital, Ulaanbaatar (Mongolian: Ulan Bator) and is in the north-central part of the country.

 

Some three-fourths of Mongolia’s area consists of pasturelands, which support the immense herds of grazing livestock for which the country is known. The remaining area is about equally divided between forests and barren deserts, with only a tiny fraction of the land under crops. With a total population of fewer than three million, Mongolia has one of the lowest average population densities of any country in the world.

 
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ANIMALS OF NOMADS

Cashmere comes from special goats, and like many other fine materials is easily taken for granted. Mongolian A-grade cashmere is rare. It is by far considered the best in the world because the goats roam free and are kept by nomads who have lived with them and one with nature for centuries. The nomadic herders live in Ger tents. They only take 2 hours to dismantle or set up. Which comes in handy as the herders know their land is constantly moving their Gers to provide the best gracing paths for the animals. It is only in this environment when the goats live free and are cared for by the nomadic herders where they can develop the amazing strands of hair needed for the best A grade cashmere. Anyone involved in the cashmere industry knows this which is why the demand for pure Mongolian cashmere has seen a significant spike the last year despite the overall trend to make Cashmere a cheap commodity. As thus, finally herders are acknowledged for their lifestyle and are finally properly getting paid for their hard work and exquisite fiber.

The long harsher strands of hairs are not considered real cashmere and among the fluffy ones each strand of hair has to be decided by color and measured to ensure see if it will be A,B or C Grade

The long harsher strands of hairs are not considered real cashmere and among the fluffy ones each strand of hair has to be decided by color and measured to ensure see if it will be A,B or C Grade

PURE AND PERFECT

To make real cashmere it is only the undercoat on the stomach of the goat which will pass as cashmere and only a few strands of that coat which will have the length and micron for A grade measurements. Each strand of hair is measured and selected by hand. It takes 4-5 goats to make enough yarn for just one A grade sweater. So few fibers can actually be used for A grade that the finished yarn now has a price tag of USD150 kg which will increase even more in 2019. No wonder cashmere is a pricy commodity.

Selected and brushed A grade fibre.Each strand of hair has an average micron of 42mm in length and 16mm width

Selected and brushed A grade fibre.Each strand of hair has an average micron of 42mm in length and 16mm width

THE OTHER ANIMALS OF NOMADS

In Mongolia, it is prestigious to keep many kinds of Animals and there are some amazing cool ones which are unique to the culture of Mongolian nomads. Two super cool animals with fantastic fur that also rooms freely with the nomads are the Bacteria Camel and the robust Yaks! Big fantastic animals who are eating practices doesn't contribute to desert spreading since they don’t have cloves that dig up the roots and don’t even like the roots. Their fleece is also just as wonderful as cashmere but for a different reason. Thus, we decided to add them to our collection and really encourage you to try them! There are so many benefits of keeping a diverse herd and these fibers are great for so many reasons so please head over to our fibers area and learn more about them. Where cashmere might fail you in warmth, yak will for sure be an even better option and camel is super durable and makes for amazing looking coats and throws.

Please check it out and support diversity for a more sustainable earth.

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THE PRICE OF LIVING FREE

Today the raw cashmere material from Mongolian herders cost USD 30 per KG and it's going to increase even more in 2019. On top of this the agent system or “ American called cartels” has disappeared in Mongolia so all the money ends up with the herder's families which was also not the case a few years back. A few years ago the nomads were only paid USD 15 per KG so this is a much-needed change and great new for the herders who do really live a rare and harsh life.

Goat and baby on a walk in the November sun - Mongolia 2018

Goat and baby on a walk in the November sun - Mongolia 2018

DESERTIFICATION

All this acknowledgment in quality and demand has been really good for herders. However higher demand with a push for more and more goats has taken its toll on the Gobi Desert.

Goats are funny, cute and overall amazing animals. There are no grocery stores in the desert so the nomads eat what they can produce themselves, which is super sustainable living. Due to, nomadic herders definitely need gots to live, both fiber and dairy. It is therefore important to keep cashmere goats who’s fur is century adapted for the harsh Mongolian climate. However, they do have a nasty habit of eating roots which have regrettably lead to “desert spreading”. This is really bad for the climate and urgently needs to be stopped. Some companies want more cashmere and push for more goats and set up gracing rights. Excluding some herders from some areas. If this is to be done there needs to be government regulations in place and unfortunately, we just don’t see that working at this time. We think the solution is to keep living the same way as have work for centuries. Up until now, and therefore believe the solution is maintaining a diverse group of animals which are all vital to the herders and ultimately much better for the environment.

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Mongolia
 
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ASCOTT BERG CASHMERE GOATS
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Wil Horses
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