Cashmere is one of the most valuable natural yarns in fashion and a firm staple within our collections. Its luxurious qualities and sumptuous texture make it softer and warmer than other yarns.
We are aware of the social and environmental issues that are intrinsic to this fibre and as we look at ways to preserve it, we are addressing its environmental impact by reducing waste and fully tracing its supply chain.
OUR SUSTAINABLE CASHMERE STORY
At Whistles we are proud to offer fine quality pure cashmere, which has been controlled at every manufacturing stage from goat to garment. A paper trail allows us to trace garments directly to the farm where the fibre originated, while our reputable yarn supplier is committed to providing high quality cashmere that is tested throughout the process.
Our yarn supplier has been working closely with the farmers for over 10 years to train them in animal husbandry and welfare, which in turn helps them raise their standard of living. The training farm is where they demonstrate good practice to the farmers.
Their environmentally conscious production allows them to recycle the majority of the waste water, so that its treatment facilities release more clean water into the environment.
The goat herd must have 11 to 15 acres of land each for grazing, which means that a farmer with 500 goats will have around 8000 acres of land. To mitigate the environmental impact of goat herding, goats are also fed a supplement and corn for extra nutrition. At night they are brought into the farm buildings to keep them safe, whilst during the day they roam free to fresh air, exercise and graze as much as possible. To control the breeding, maintain a high quality of fibre and prevent in-breeding the farmers separate the males and females at around 3 months old.
It takes at least 4 goats to produce enough yarn for one jumper. Only 600 tons of cashmere is produced per year – another reason why this yarn is so luxurious.
To get the amount of cashmere required, the goat is carefully sheared by very experienced shearers and the goat fibres are sorted into the fine undercoat and the coarse outer hairs.
There is a misconception that combing rather than shearing the goats to obtain the hair is a lot kinder to the animal. However goats can suffer when being combed by hand as the constant pulling can be painful, whereas shearing is quick and painless.
When this long pure cashmere yarn is knitted into our knits, it feels light, warm and silky soft.
Our yarn supplier has a well-established Animal Welfare Policy, which is a fundamental part of our core values. We want to ensure the well-being of animals throughout our supply chain, and to respect the communities that care for them, while always considering grassland conservation initiatives.
The best quality cashmere comes from Inner Mongolia: a region where the temperature fluctuates from -40° in winter to over 30° in the summer. The cashmere goats have adapted to this climate by developing a double fleece and their long, fine undercoat hair makes for the most premium yarn.
In the spring the herders bring their goats down from the mountains and relieve them of their winter coat, so they are ready for the long hot summer.
The Five Freedoms
This ethos is based upon The Five Freedoms: an internationally accepted standard of care that affirms every living being’s right to humane treatment. Our supplier works with the local herders to manage the number of animals per acre to prevent overgrazing and desertification, as well as to protect the health of grasslands; since the livelihoods of the herders and animals depend on healthy soil for their food source.