With the coming of Spring, cashmere goats begin the natural process of molting by shedding the now unnecessary winter coat, a godsend for all cashmere lovers.
In the northern hemisphere, this season begins as early as March to as late as May, setting the goat farmers to work. Since it is natural for the goats to shed their winter coat, many farmers choose to use a coarse brush to comb through the goats’ fleece by hand, thereby collecting the shedding coat, or in other words, raw cashmere.
As a bonus, this technique tends to collect less coarse hair, ensuring a higher yield of pure cashmere! The entire process can take up to two weeks, making it a time-consuming and energy-intensive ordeal.
As a consequence, goat farmers in certain regions prefer shearing the wool in one go. While this is a lot quicker, shearing leads to the accumulation of much of the coarse guard hair along with the winter coat. At this point, the farmers are left with a combination of guard hair, raw cashmere, and any greasy impurities that have collected upon the goat in the previous months.
In both cases, the raw material is then sent to the ‘dehairing’ or processing outlets where it is segregated based on quality and color, washed, and finally separated. The soft fibers are pulled away from the guard hair, leading to the production of weaving and knitting grade cashmere which is then converted into yarn, ready to be crafted into heavenly cashmere merchandise.
For more information on the story of sourcing, stay tuned!