Everything You Need To Know When Choosing Your Cashmere Knit
What catched our eye about Florenz? How the softness of their cashmere knits is apparent only looking at pictures. Isn’t it amazing? The Madrid based brand, founded by a French designer, Florence Bourgade, offers timeless recycled cashmere knits on a preorder basis (no stock, no waste, remember). We talk to Florence Bourgade about her vision and learn what to consider when investing in a new cashmere sweater.
Sustainability in cashmere really comes down to the question of animal welfare, right? How is this secured in your process?
– Sustainability in cashmere as well as other fibers is related to a low impact on the environment among other factors such as animal welfare, traceability in the supply chain. That’s the reason why with our knitwear, we work with Italian mills that are compromised with traceability and ethical breeding, which also improve the fleece value. They own various certifications such Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and the “Responsible Wool Standard” (RWS) that ensure sheep are treated with respect to their Five Freedoms (Good Lifestyle, Good Environment, Good Health, Good Nutrition, Good Handling).
– In regards to the sheep and wool, cashmere goats are not sheared but kindly combed once a year. The goats have very little fat to protect them in the winter from the cold, so they develop fleecy, soft fibres underneath their coat, on the underbelly. These hairs are what make cashmere. It takes four goats to produce enough fibre to make one single cashmere sweater, whereas one sheep produces enough fibre to make five wool sweaters. That’s why cashmere has traditionally been considered as such a luxury material. But today, the demand for cheap cashmere products increased so much that Mongolian farmers have increased the number of goats in their herds. This has led to negative environmental impacts particularly in Mongolian grassland. That’s the reason why instead of using virgin cashmere in our knitwear collections, we use Re.Verso™ and recycled cashmere made from post-factory cashmere waste in Italy. It offers the same soft qualities as virgin cashmere but has no impact associated with animal rearing and is a beautiful example of how to make fashion circular and redefine “waste”. The cashmere waste is collected locally in Italy from many factories to be hand sorted in regards to colour and recycled.
Tell us about your pre-order service for knitwear, how does it work?
– For knitwear we work on pre order which means that we produce what is already sold + 5% to 10% more for those who require to change the size of their order.
We calculated that if we stock many pieces, the final price of our sweater increases consistently for the final buyer as it’s really difficult to determine the right quantity to be produced. With this kind of “production window” we can adjust the quantity, create knitwear with luxury cashmere quality at a fair price. During the year, we open various preorder “production windows” for specific garments at a cheaper price during 4 to 6 weeks. After being produced, we upload to the e-store what we have in stock and sell it at a slightly increased price. These styles are available for immediate delivery. When in stock, we deliver to Europe and US within 3-5 days. We aim to design timeless styles without being season specific that will repeat in future collections. This makes our knitwear production easier.
– We have also built very strong relationships with our local knit units. They are all small Spanish workshops with expertise in luxury items and a very low minimum quantity. This is a huge advantage as we can produce a few sweaters if required or even a single dress in a specific size. For neutral colours we rarely have cashmere availability problems, but for deep and rich colors, sometimes it gets tricky and we have to stock a little yarn in advance. – Some customers prefer to pay a little bit more and wait for the sweaters to be in stock. In both cases, we are glad that our customers are conscious consumers. They definitely appreciate slow made, long lasting and quality knitwear. They are patient and they buy thoughtfully.
How to best take care of your cashmere sweater in your opinion?
– The best way to take care of a cashmere sweater is washing it by hand in cold water with gentle soap . If some pilling happens with time, it can be gently combed or removed by hand. Cashmere is famous to get better with time and it is true.
About pilling, we also have a particular point of view. Cashmere when knitted or woven is not as fluffy as we usually see it in stores. It is the washing and then the drying process that creates the fluffiness. The more a cashmere sweater is fluffy the more pilling it will make in the future. We know that people love and enjoy that very soft and fluffy aspect but we also find it very important to knit long lasting garments that can be worn for years to come. For this reason we keep our knitwear a little bit dry as they really last longer. The fluffiness still happens with time after your sweater is being washed at your home but it is not ”extreme”.
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