When we plan to buy one cashmere sweater, we mostly care how much it is. Sometimes we buy a simple cashmere sweater at 80 USD, sometimes we need spend 2000 USD or more. There is huge difference in price between different brands even if they are all labeled as 100% cashmere.
Do you know what determines the price of a cashmere sweater and the quality? Why can you get a 100 percent cashmere sweater for $80, $800, or $2,000? And why your $200 sweater appear cashmere pilling after a few wears? Does more expensive sweater mean better cashmere?
To help figure out the essential buying tips to make sure you’re getting what you pay for, let’s take a look at all the things affecting the price tag of a finished piece.
Raw Material Price
Raw cashmere price is usually caculated by weight, it is about 150 USD per kg this year. Some people also caculated it by yard, in fact it is not accurate.
In USA, only pure cashmere sweaters can be labeled 100% cashmere. There's a law (The Wool Products Labeling Act) that actually makes it a crime to mislabel cashmere if it's not legitimate. So 100% cashmere sweater is expensive.
Cashmere is the winter undercoat of the cashmere goat. While its name comes from Kashmir, India, the fiber can come from a goat anywhere. Today, most of the world’s premium cashmere comes from Mongolia, where the cold climate and hearty lifestyle of the animals produce the longest, thinnest, softest hair.
Cashmere making process
Producing cashmere is an incredibly labor-intensive process. The traditional method is to hand-comb the hair (rather than to shear it off, which is harder on the goats and adds more short, low-quality hairs to the mix) during molting season in the spring, and separate the long fibers from the short fibers into different grades by hand.
On top of all that trouble, these goats have a pretty low wool yield, making the raw material quite rare. Each goat’s yearly production is about 113g, meaning it takes about two goats every year to produce enough fiber to make a single jumper, and up to six goats for higher quality garments made from thicker yarn. So it is the reason for the most expensive cashmere sweater.
Raw cashmere hair is sorted into grades based on the length and thickness of the hair, measured in density units called microns. Grade A cashmere is usually considered 14 to 15.5 microns and 30 to 34 cm long, while Grade B is 16 to 19 microns; to put this in perspective, human hair is about 75 – 100 microns.
Grade A cashmere is soft to the touch without heavy washing of the yarn, so it gives us the most longevity from a wear perspective. The thickness of the yarn used for the fabric determines its durability. Lengthier cashmere fibers maintain their integrity for a longer time, allowing garments to retain their structure. It's not going to get holes as easily because the yarn is stronger and because the fibers are very long.
Brand is one of intangible property for one company, it is same for cashmere sweater brands. Famous brand sweaters uaually have quality assurance to keep the reputation in public. They are made of high quality cashmere.
After comparing the quality and price from a bunch of brands, I’m confident that the sweet spot for cashmere is made and produced in an ethical way, and made with high-quality yarn that will wear well and last for a long time, is between $100 and $300.
Paying more means you’re shelling out extra for design, brand name, or a heritage factory — all things that might be important to you, and thus worth the money.
Global Cashmere Market
In addition to grade, the price of cashmere is also decided on the markup from raw material and yarn dealers.
If the maker deals directly with the herders, that would cut huge margins off the price that’s passed on to the end consumer and pay herders a fairer wage. While dealers still stand to make a huge profit, but the price of cashmere on the global market has been dropping over the past years because the demand of luxury goods like cashmere was dropping too.
Similar to brand awareness, some brands cashmere sweater usually have quality guarranty, that means you do not need worry about its quality. If you find something wrong in future, you can return or ask help from them. The after sales servicer is happy to help you fix holes or get wrinkles out of your sweater. With these services, what you pay actually deserve what you get.
All in all, no matter how much you have spent for your cashmere sweater, it is a versatile, seasonless investment that you can wear for years. You should also learn how to maintain the cashmere sweater in daily life. The better you take care of your sweater, the longer the investment lasts.
Updated on 1st Jan., 2022
About Ying Tang
Miss Ying, cashmere products quality controller in Dr.Muxue, with 10 years of experience in cashmere material selecting and cashmere material purchasing, deeply knows the process of cashmere garment producing as well as how to take care of them.
Dr.Muxue is one new brand in cashmere scarf industry, all products are 100% cashmere, made in Inner Mongolia. We are willing to offer excellent cashmere products for you.