All about Cashmere, Mohair and Shetland wool Best of fall and winter.

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 only in luxury brands because high-end customers were willing to pay for more quality. But nowadays, we all are putting quality over quantity. That’s why high street brands such as H&M, Mango, Arket, & Other Stories offer cashmere pullovers for around 150 Euros.

No doubts that the price for a quality pullover in the fast fashion road is much higher than the normal polyester option. But it’s still less than we expect. Before you decide what and where to buy, have a look at how those fabrics are made and where it comes from.

The difference between wool and hair

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.

All about Cashmere

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. This explains its high price, right? 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. So, the price of Cashmere lays in the way it’s collected; by hand with a comb or trimmed.

The great Mohair

Mohair also comes from the undercoat of a goat, more specifically; the Angora goat. It’s not the same as Angora wool that comes from the Angora rabbit. Mohair is an incredible natural yarn. Among its properties, Mohair is an excellent insulating, is moisture-wicking which allow it to remain cool in summer, is durable and naturally elastic. Most of this soft and fluffy yarn comes from South Africa and Texas, USA. The goats are shorn twice a year.

The strong Shetland

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.

model sitting on the floor of a flat wearing a handmade knit from berliner brand Maiami

Notorious is all for natural yarns and sustainable fabrics that are environmental-friendly. But also economically sustainable, where groups of artisans and farmers can live from a fairtrade industry.

It is essential to know what you are buying; you should always research where and how garments are made. It is better to buy higher quality articles, even if that means you will have to buy less. Those items will last longer and you will be promoting and fostering brands that work with a fair production.

Any small thing that we do to change some habits will have an enormous impact on saving our planet. Conscious consumption is one of them. And here is what you also can do to make a difference in the environment. Watch the video made by Zalando and Adidas and join the movement.


Images courtesy @MAIAMI – Photos: Thorsten Klapsch – Model: Ola – Hair/Makeup: Nastassia Tikhnovetskaja