Fabric names are often delectably expressive - take the crisp sound of the word “cotton” for instance, or the shiny, clean connotations of “nylon”. Few are as indicative as cashmere, however, which is widely regarded as the precious stone of the textile world - a notion evidenced by the fact that it takes approximately four years for one cashmere goat to grow enough wool for a single sweater. Man has been sourcing this exquisite textile from the cashmere goat since the 3rd century BC, but it was a French revolutionary general stationed in Egypt who helped set the trend in motion in Europe when he sent a cashmere shawl to his wife in Paris. By the 19th century it had gained traction across the continent (helped, no doubt, by Queen Victoria being a fan), when the wool was imported from Tibet, spun into yarn in France and woven into sweaters in Scotland. Neither monarch nor revolutionary, it seems, can resist this timelessly tactile knitwear - and neither can we.
If you’re thinking of washing your cashmere, turn it inside out before you do so. This will allow surface fibres to rub together during the wash, thereby mending any loose ones.
Always wash cashmere by hand in lukewarm water, as machine washing can be very harsh on the fabric’s delicate structure.
Don’t over-wear your cashmere between washes as it will lose its shape. Equally, don’t over-wash your cashmere. Knitwear doesn’t need to be washed after every time you wear it.
Don’t hang your cashmere knitwear on a washing line to dry. It will stretch in length and distort irreversibly, while sunlight will also bleach the colour of your garment. Dry it flat by laying it on a towel.
When folding and storing your cashmere sweaters, bear in mind that the less number of folds you put in, the better, as this will lessen creasing and loss of shape.
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