How Much is that Cashmere Sweater in the Window?

December 6, 2009

Clothing

As luxury items have become "democratized" over the past decade, the biggest issue from a retailer or manufacturer’s standpoint becomes the dilution of certain words. "Cashmere" used to be a very rare, very expensive fiber that you would find only in the finest stores; today, Macy’s sells a cashmere sweater for $75. So is a Peter Millar cashmere sweater 4 times as expensive just because?

Of course not. And while our salespeople can tell you about the features of a Peter Millar cashmere sweater, we were thrilled to see Peter Millar take the kashmir goat by the horns and develop this handy little diagram to illustrate the details that make their sweater different. It’s these details that mean the sweater will look better, longer (and in this case, probably keep you warmer too since it’s a 2-ply cashmere) than less expensive alternatives.

 

Cashmere is named after Kashmir, the mountainous areas of Pakistan and India. A cashmere goat lives in cold, windy climate and develops a hard, protective fleece to withstand the extremes. In the Spring, the soft silky undercoat is combed to collect the fine under down. A cashmere fiber is 1/3 the size of a human hair. It takes four years for a single goat to produce enough cashmere to make one men’s sweater.

When the cashmere is collected, it goes through a sorting process. The fibers are divided into extra short, short, medium, and long batches. Peter Millar is very unique in that we use a 36mm staple to spin our yarn, which is considered a long fiber. Special care is needed when using this quality of yarn; it must be spun correctly and have enough packed into the sweater to ensure a quality product. Control of the yarn tension and weight are essential so the sweater will not be limp and flimsy. Peter Millar’s size large in men’s weighs over 300 grams. We have taken measures to ensure all sweaters are to a proper weight scale to allow for year round enjoyment.

Peter Millar’s care label suggests hand washing and to lay flat or dry clean. Hand washing is better for a knitted cashmere sweater in the long run as chemicals used in dry cleaning can be hard on cashmere fibers. In addition; hand washing will actually make the sweater softer over time.

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