Fast fashion is the second biggest contributor to climate change, so it’s safe to say that it’s high time that most of us switched up the way we shop. By consciously seeking out materials that are sustainable and ethically made, you’re supporting better practices and contributing to a cleaner future for all of us – well done you! The creation of textiles and fabrics is a huge part of the ugly side of fashion, educating yourself on the materials that your clothes are crafted out of will mean that your new pieces are as environmentally kind as they are stylish, a win, win! Cashmere is a silky soft, luxurious fabric that, when sourced correctly, is amazingly good for our environment. Here’s how to go about shopping for sustainable and ethical cashmere…
What makes good cashmere?
Once upon a time, cashmere was reserved only for the very rich, but thankfully times have evolved and you can find a whole range of cashmere at every price point. Although this is great because it means that more people are able to reap the silky soft, cosy benefits of the textile, it does also mean that there’s some cashmere floating around that’s poor in quality and not necessarily cruelty free.
So, what makes the good stuff good? Cashmere comes from goats, originally goats from the Kashmir region specifically (but now from anywhere in the world). The fabric is taken from the undercoat of a goat’s winter fur, this practice is natural, sustainable and ethical if you shop from the right bands. The goats can suffer if they’re stripped of their fur early into winter, as they have not grown enough fat to keep them warm throughout the remainder of the cold season. This can often be the method used by cheap high street brands, as they are able to mass produce and sell their products off for less. Avoid contributing to the unethical treatment of animals and shop for cashmere at a price that reflects the value of the fabric. If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is.
Your next hurdle is the grade. You can find both Grade A and Grade B cashmere, if the product doesn’t specify which it is then feel free to ask the brand. Grade B is basically cashmere that’s composed of thinner hairs, meaning that Grade A is preferable for a plush, insulating effect. Both options are great, but there’s no doubt that A will give you that amazingly luxurious feel that we expect from cashmere.
Now that you’re schooled on just what makes some cashmere good and some harmful, you can start shopping for some! If you really want to minimise your environmental footprint, you should try to shop from a local brand as opposed to getting a jumper shipped from the other side of the globe. There are plenty of amazing Aussie brands that are creating beautiful cashmere pieces.
Find a brand that you trust
Once you find a local brand, make the effort to get to know where they get their cashmere from, how it’s made and what their core ethos is. This way, you’ll be able to find yourself a brand that you completely trust and can keep shopping from for many seasons to come!
Invest in classic cuts
Your cashmere pieces are going to be around for literally years, so stick to classic cuts to ensure that you’re not just throwing your money at trend pieces that will go out of style in a season or two.