How to choose these natural fabrics
Maiami AW 18 Collection
Have you noticed that almost all fast fashion brands offer pullovers in natural fabrics such as Mohair, Cashmere and Shetland?
A few years ago, you would only find those natural yarns in luxury brands. They were very expensive and rare and symbolised high-quality and status, but nowadays, high street brands such as H&M, Mango or ASOS offer cashmere pullovers for around 100 Euros! Although ASOS announced that it would remove Cashmere and Mohair products from their stock entirely until the end of January 2019.
Is it the best solution? Should all of us embrace polyester?
The production of Cashmere, Mohair and Shetland wool
First of all, did you know that Cashmere and Mohair are not wool? Wait, what? Well yes, by definition, wool is a fiber that comes from sheep, like Shetland. Strands coming from any other animal like goats and alpacas are technically not wool but hair.
The luxurious fabric comes from the fine undercoat of the Kashmir goats, mainly found in China and Mongolia. In spring, the goats naturally shed their “winter coat”. That's when the fine Cashmere is collected by hand with the use of a comb. It is a long process that can take up to two weeks. Only 25% of the goat’s fleece is used, and you need the hair generated by two to four goats in one year to make just one cashmere pullover, which explains its high price! But in some countries like Australia, Afghanistan, New Zealand and parts of China and Mongolia, they shear the goats instead, cutting both the down coat, which is pure cashmere and the long coarse hair, resulting in a lower quality yarn.
Mohair also comes from the undercoat of a goat, the Angora goat, which is often mistaken for Angora wool that comes from the Angora rabbit. Most of this soft and fluffy yarn comes from South Africa and Texas, USA. The goats are shorn twice a year.
Shetland comes from the Shetland sheep of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. The hardy and warm wool is perfect for the harsh weather conditions on the Scottish island. Since the sheep cannot shed their winter coat, the farmers shear them once a year, so that the animals are cooler in the summer. This breed is very docile and easy to work with. Since 2010 the world’s major wool-producing countries have signed the Dumfries House Wool Declaration to ensure the industry follows the strict animal welfare standards.
We are all for natural and sustainable fabrics that are environmental-friendly. It is essential to know what you are buying; you should always research where and how garments are made. Be suspicious of very inexpensive items. It is better to buy higher quality articles, even if that means you will have to buy less; they will last longer and you will be promoting and fostering brands that work with fair production. Our tip? MAIAMI, a luxury knitwear fashion label based in Berlin. Hand knitted sweaters, natural yarns, transparent work process, and close contact with the manufactures; all these things make the MAIAMI sweater an unique piece.
Slow fashion and intelligence are sexy :)
Images, @MAIAMI courtesy. Photos by Thorsten Klapsch. Model, Ola. Hair/Makeup, Nastassia Tikhnovetskaja