The History of Cashmere
Cashmere is manufactured from the fleece of cashmere goats, which are Indigenous to such countries as Inner Mongolia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The earliest mentions of cashmere date as far back as the 14th century. In order to produce a single scarf, a yearly amount of fleece from one goat is required.
The fibers, more smooth and straight than those of a sheep, are removed from underneath a goat's chin using a special comb and then spun onto a filament before getting knitted or woven. Cashmere shawls became popular in the West, especially Britain and France, where they were exported from Kashmir and India. The ladies from upper classes, clad in Neo- Classical short- sleeved dresses, enjoyed keeping themselves warm yet stylish with paisley shawls around their shoulders.
The Empress Josephine herself allegedly had hundreds of shawls but eventually the expensive imported garments started selling less and less, overturned by cheap local imitations. In the 20th century, especially during the knitwear revolutions of the twenties and the seventies, cashmere mostly appeared as a component of jumpers, cardigans and twinsets. Sheep wool was widely used in clothes up until the eighties, when designers started incorporating cashmere into their creations, promoting it as a luxurious high- quality material.