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The basics

Posted in Features, Travels
by Lisa Corneliusson on 21 October, 2014

Soft cashmere sweaters and a pair of corduroy trousers.

Next week I’m off to New York for a few weeks. I’m traveling with my bestie Columbine, we’re both going for work but in between assignments we’re going to write, draw, watch ballet and stare at paintings, find local places to drink coffee and run along the river. My plan is to only bring a small bag of basics, soft cashmere sweaters and a pair of corduroy trousers. This sweater from the Dagmar’s Basic Instinct collection is supposedly really nice. The Basic Instinct pieces are designed to become lasting favorites and I like the fact that they promote the same collection for the second year now. Please continue to do so for another ten years.

Talking about cashmere, I would still like to know more about how to pick out the more sustainable cashmere sweaters from the lower-quality ones. I know that fibre with an hair length of 36mm-plus is considered premium, and, that pilling afflicts expensive cashmere too, though it should stop after the first wash (even if washing is rarely necessary). I also know that treated well, it can last a lifetime, and that it’s a lot warmer than sheep’s wool.
But I’d also like to know more about how to trace the treatment of cashmere goats and the lands they graze. Cashmere is of course a limited natural resource, that needs to be dealt with more sustainably if it’s to be continued to be used for mass-production.

Mongolia and China provides a large portion of the cashmere sold worldwide. Since the fibre has become increasingly popular (party by designers like Clemens Ribeiro putting it on a catwalk), the breeding of cashmere goats have caused once unspoilt grassland to become deserts, the overexploitation is a fact. But, there’s some hope, with green initiatives being pushed out to keep cashmere a lux material. One of the better initiatives is an Argentinian one – the Wildlife Friendly certification, used by Patagonia, is given to cashmere produced with minimized impact on the lands and the wildlife. In Italy, there’s locally produced cashmere that is traceable as well.

Sustainability God Kate Fletcher has also taught me that soybean fibre is a potential replacement for cashmere (it’s sometimes called “vegetable cashmere”) – it could help the negative impact caused by cashmere goats grazing on fragile grassland. Sounds very exciting.


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