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The beauty of cashmere

Sunspel cashmere is special. The roots of this incredibly soft and naturally warming material can be traced from nomadic farmers to the finest knitwear specialists in Scotland. Here we explore the story of Sunspel cashmere and how best to look after yours.

There are few materials that exude luxury quite like cashmere. Lightweight and versatile, yet eminently warming and soft to the touch, cashmere clothing and accessories are investment pieces that hold a special place in a person’s wardrobe. Over the winter months they become indispensable as temperatures drop.

But what is it about cashmere that makes it one of the world’s most desirable materials? Its many covetable qualities – practical, breathable, natural, temperature regulating and, of course, extremely soft – come from the source of the fibre: goats that roam the inhospitable landscapes of the Himalayas. Cashmere is up to three times more insulating than sheep’s wool because of its provenance, and Sunspel cashmere is Grade A rated; derived from the soft white underbelly of nomadic goats. 

At Sunspel, the quality of our cashmere – as with all our fabrics – is of the utmost importance. And although the root of Sunspel cashmere hails from the other side of the world - from the second winter undercoat of nomadic goats, renowned for producing fine and exceptionally soft wool - the garments are produced much closer to home in traditional Scottish mills.

‘We’re particularly pleased that the production chain for our cashmere knits is based in Britain,’ says Sunspel head of design David Telfer. ‘Because of the unique skills of our partners, Sunspel is able to offer a greatquality contemporary product spun and crafted in Scotland, with a beautiful soft feel.’

It was a road trip across Scotland in 2018 that took the Sunspel team to William Lockie, the oldest knitwear factory in Hawick, a town in the Scottish Borders renowned for its premium knitwear. William Lockie uses world-renowned Todd & Duncan yarn, which has been spun from its factory located alongside Loch Levin since 1897. The waters from the loch help produce incredibly soft, natural fibres.

‘If you make knitwear in any other country, you will have to add softeners to it, whereas in Scotland, because of the water, they don’t have to,’ explains Telfer. ‘The water makes a huge difference in knitwear as the washing process is the part that makes the fibres burst and gives you that extra soft hand-feel.’

Produced using traditional methods on machines that have been in use for over a century, Sunspel cashmere can be separated into two collections. Our signature pure cashmere crew necks are knitted on a chunkier needle to make an open knit, which gives the cashmere more space to breathe. This makes the 100% cashmere garment super soft and lightweight, and is a process that is unique to Sunspel.

Then there is Sunspel’s luxurious loungewear, which is also knitted in the same Scottish factory with Todd & Duncan yarn. For this ultimate loungewear collection, which includes a knitted hoodie and matching track pants, the yarn is knitted tighter together for optimum durability.

When it comes to hard-working materials and fabrics, Sunspel is a pioneer. Over the course of the brand’s 160-year history, Sunspel has strived to create premium clothing made from materials that perform to the best possible standards with an elegant and timeless aesthetic. This began in the company’s infancy, by matching top-notch craftsmanship with pioneering use of fabrics, and is an ethos that continues to this day.

Creating the best possible clothing of is a continuous learning process, and it is in this vein that Sunspel introduced its first-ever recycled cashmere range in late 2021. The recycled yarn is made by shredding post consumer garments and fabrics and re-spinning into a new cashmere yarn, but the team found that, when used in garments against the body, it did not perform to Sunspel’s exacting standards. When it came to accessories – hats, scarves and gloves – the recycled cashmere was a perfect fit. The items are made from fine Italian yarn, which is once again knitted in Scotland in a tighter knit for stability but still with that signature softness.

Whether you invest in our loungewear sets or one of our accessories, Sunspel cashmere is designed to be loved and worn for years to come.


A thing of beauty: How to look after your Sunspel Cashmere

Care

  • Sunspel cashmere is durable and hard-working, but the luxurious nature of the material means it needs to be cared for. Pills (small bobbles that appear in cashmere) will occur naturally over time. This is not a sign of poor quality but rather a natural characteristic of the material. Avoid the temptation to pick these off as this may cause damage. Instead, use a cashmere comb and carefully brush over the surface, but use sparingly as too much combing could break the fabric.
  • Similarly, cashmere garments don’t need to be washed as frequently as you would expect and should be washed by hand for best results. Rather than washing after every use, air your cashmere for 24 hours in between wearing.

Storage

  • After each wear, fold your cashmere garment (ideally between a layer of tissue paper to protect it) in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and any heat source. This will help maintain the item’s shape and fit.
  • Never fold or store when the garment is damp as this will encourage moths. If storing cashmere over the summer, make sure it is fully dry beforehand and kept in a breathable garment bag.

Washing

  • When washing cashmere at home, fill a sink or bowl with cool water and mix a small amount of gentle detergent into the water. Turn your garment inside-out and submerge. Gently squeeze the suds but avoid wringing. Rinse the garment with cool water until no suds remain.
  • Remember to refrain from using a washing machine, fabric softeners or any product containing bleach as these will remove the natural oil in the fibres and can change the colour and feel of the garment.
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