With the rise of fast fashion, cashmere, historically one of the world’s finest, softest and most luxurious fibres has been leapt upon by manufacturers and clothing retailers seeking to replicate its softness and beauty and offer the once rare fabric at lower prices.
Cashmere garments are now produced in vast numbers on a huge scale, but this gives me cause to pause and reflect on how this is possible. While the beautiful fibre may be available to more, at what cost?
For me, cashmere is an exceptional gift from nature, a rare and precious fibre to be valued and treasured for years.
At Bamford we work with cashmere combed from the coats of Capra Hircus goats in China and Mongolia. In the bleak landscapes there are extreme changes in temperature between the day and night. To cope with these changes the goats grow a soft, prized undercoat known as down, which keeps them insulated and warm in the cold, but cool enough during the daytime sunshine. When the climate turns milder, the animals naturally shed their coats and goat herders carefully harvest the cashmere. This is why cashmere is so precious: each small batch of exquisite fibre is available to us thanks to hard work, patience and devotion.
Like us, the suppliers we work have complete transparency in their supply chain to guarantee the integrity of our fabrics. The fibres are lovingly crafted, slowly, and the producer’s commitment to caring for the environment, the welfare of the workers and the goats means that we have complete trust that our cashmere is ethically produced.
Cashmere at low prices simply cannot be achieved unless this supply chain is compromised. What’s more it won’t have the quality and durability so the garments won’t last, will pill and will eventually end up in landfill, possibly after just one season.
Cashmere is a fibre we work with for only a select few pieces each collection; a fabric we revere, conscious of the need to value and treat it with the deepest respect. Our cashmere will last you for years. Provided you take of the fibre and wash it gently, our cashmere garments are pieces to invest in and treasure.
This season Bamford has started to work with undyed cashmere. The purest example possible, undyed cashmere is chemical free; a true reflection of what exists in nature. It means that at the end of its life, the fibre can be returned to the earth and will biodegrade without leaving any footprint on the natural world. You can find the three pieces in our summer collection, our Hush Funnel Sweater, Silence Knit and Balance Sweater by clicking on this link.