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Cashmere

Tradition and innovation: cashmere is the fibre that has always epitomized our unwavering pursuit of quality, evoking visions of sumptuous softness and fascinating tales of distant lands.

Soft by nature
Cashmere comes from the underfleece of the Capra hircus goat. These small, fearless animals live on the mountain plateaus of Asia in extremely harsh weather conditions. To survive, nature has equipped them with a layer of very fine fleece beneath a coarser outer coat, which protects them from the intense cold, trapping in their body heat. The goats tend to lose this ultra-soft barrier when the weather gets milder, usually in the month of May, and it is then that the herders gently comb it from their fleece. The result of this operation is about 200 grams of fibre, that Loro Piana purchases in the areas of provenance, northern China and Mongolia, and processes with great care in its mills in Italy, capitalising on six generations of tradition and innovation in the textile field.

Used pure or blended other noble fibres such as silk, cashmere is crafted into the lightest of consistencies and patterned stitches, or interpreted with an unexpected twist, like a casual sweatshirt, for example.

The steppe and the dunes
The softness of cashmere seems to be forged by the rigid terrain of the animals' habitat. The ochre sand dunes of the Alashan province in northern China, where scorching summers and sudden downfalls represent the greatest challenge, are home to goats with pristine white fleeces of long, fine fibre that are a genuine natural treasure. The ice-covered Mongolian steppe, on the other hand, is inhabited by goats whose equally soft, fine coats vary from brown to beige to grey. The herders who take care of them follow time-honoured traditions. It is a relationship governed by the cycles of nature and in complete harmony with it, which Loro Piana profoundly respects, and which is what inspires its projects to elevate the quality of the fibre. The demand for cashmere has increased dramatically in recent years, and - in view of the small quantity of fibre that is obtained from each animal - herders have been creating ever larger flocks. This has worsened the goats' living conditions and - consequently - the quality of the fibre. We have been working to reverse this trend for almost ten years, promoting rational, selective breeding and rewarding the herders who produce the finest, highest quality cashmere with the "Cashmere of the Year Award": an authentic pact forged in the name of excellence.

Everything began with a scarf, in cashmere, naturally. A scarf in a kaleidoscope of different colours that was the first in the line of Loro Piana's finished products. This accessory still features in the collection - both the classic size and a larger, more enveloping format - while our iconic sweaters celebrate the fibre's unique softness.

The alchemy of cashmere
For us, processing cashmere is about elevating a fibre that is exceptional in its own right. Measuring only 15-15.5 microns in diameter \(one micron is one millionth of a metre\), its softness is truly exquisite. We check it meticulously before deciding how to treat it. Every time we develop new consistencies, different weights, capitalising on its fineness and surface texture and experimenting with different yarns, to adapt it to the changing seasons. Indeed cashmere responds beautifully to those who treat it well, and envelops those who wear it in warmth and softness, just as the raw fibre protects the bodies of the goats.
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