Cashmere pros and cons

Cashmere pros and cons

{ Gloves from Cos, Sweater from & Other Stories }

Cashmere must be one of the most popular materials of the season. It’s warm, soft and luxurious, and I’ve wanted one for as long as I can remember. I have always decided against it because of the price and the cut I could find them in. Since I got really interested in sustainable fashion, consuming less and of higher quality have meant a lot to me, and I’ve always thought the ultimate high quality sweater would be made from cashmere. Back in October I finally got my hands on a beautiful grey, loose fitted, incredibly soft knit from & Other Stories and I just knew it had to live in my wardrobe. So I bought it and I loved it – I have already shown it to you several times, here, here and here.

A couple of weeks later, I got my hands on these really nice gloves from COS made from leather and with a cashmere lining. I have talked about leather pros and cons before, and while I’m still not sure about how sustainable a material it is, I know it’s durable. And to me, that’s a big part of shopping sustainably. Previously, when I’ve purchased knitted gloves, they’ve only lasted about a season, and by the end of February they’ve looked worn out; either because they pilled too much or because the knit broke. And while I’ve also had leather gloves before and even though they last longer in appearance, they are not as nice to the touch as knitted gloves usually are. The combination of leather and cashmere was so luxurious and seemed like the perfect solution for my little glove problem, so I decided to get them and I’ve loved them.

Cashmere pros and cons

But then, I decided to read up on cashmere after seeing a tweet or an instagram post from Zady, stating that you should choose alpaca over cashmere. And here’s the thing:

Cashmere is an environmental catastrophe.

Since the 1990’ies demand for cashmere has risen and the grasslands in China can’t support the growing number of hungry goats that are required to keep stores stocked with piles of cashmere. This means that the grasslands that are an important part of the ecosystem are turning into icy deserts. About ninety percent of Mongolia is already at risk of turning into a desert, and many hypothesize that over-grazing is compounding the effects of climate change. 

Many advocates that instead of cashmere, we should buy alpaca. Alpacas live largely in highlands of the Peruvian Andes, which is a less fragile ecosystem, where their soft, padded feet are gentle on the terrain and they graze without destroying root systems. Alpacas are also more efficient than goats, they drink less water, and can handily grow enough wool for four or five sweaters in a year, whereas it takes four goats the same amount of time to produce enough cashmere for just one sweater

And the best part; an alpaca sweater can be just as soft as one made from cashmere. Especially since there’s been a decline in the quality of cashmere as demand for the fiber has risen.

So when talking about cashmere pros and cons, I’m not really sure there are (m)any pros. Did you know? I certainly didn’t and now, I kind of regret having bought that really nice, beautiful, soft sweater and those comfortable, warm gloves that were suppose to stay in my wardrobe for years. But that’s the thing about this journey towards a sustainable wardrobe; I learn. All the time. And while I will probably never get another cashmere sweater (unless something drastically changes in the production), I will allow myself to enjoy this one to the fullest and hopefully for many years. And the same goes for the gloves, they’re still just as nice as when I got them, which is so unusual for my gloves after a long winter. That way it won’t have been a total waste and maybe I’ll cherish them even more, because I know, they’ll be the only ones I get.

Source: Quartz

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Hella Lynggaard

2 Comments

  1. Wow, jeg anede heller ikke, at det var så skidt. Sidder her i min cashmere-sweater og får helt dårlig samvittighed… dejligt at din blog kan gøre mig klogere, så jeg kan vælge noget andet næste gang 🙂

    • Nej, her gik jeg også og troede at det var en god investering at købe cashmere. Måske det bliver det igen en gang, hvis efterspørgslen falder og man ikke længere kan købe det i alle high street butikkerne, men for nu holder jeg i hvert fald øjnene åbne efter noget alpaca i stedet 🙂

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