Human already using animal hair and fur based garments since ancient time. It was the first material they recognize to be made into clothes. When the era is changed, people start to make other type of material which make them more affordable. These days the usage of animal based fabric is still exist, even though it is more restricted and using rare animal is considered crime in many countries. Some animal based fabric still exist these days such as cashmere wool and merino wool. Both of them comes from goat and sheep respectively. It is pretty hard to differentiate them only by look, since they can be made into many type of garments and also may look very similar to each other. In this article we will try to explain their difference and how you can differentiate them.
Cashmere is a kind of luxury fiber taken from cashmere goats and some other kind of goats. Cashmere comes from India and Pakistan, where they called the fiber Kashmir. Cashmere wool are taken from the neck region of cashmere goats and other type of goats. Cashmere goats are known to produce a double fleece which consist of fine, soft undercoat or underdown of hair mingled with a straighter and much coarse outer coating hair called guard hair. Before the fine underdown can be processed further, the hair must be de-haired first using a mechanical process, which will separate the coarse hair from the fine hair. After the process of dehairing, the resulting cashmere is ready to be dye and made into textile yarn, fabric or other kind of garments. China is currently the largest producer of cashmere, they produce approximately 10.000 metric tons of hair in a year. Followed by Mongolia with 7.400 tons of hair in 2014. Pure cashmere usually can be dyed and spun into yarns. This yarns can be used to knit sweater, hats, gloves, sock, and any other clothing. The cashmere also can be woven into fabric and used in making garments such as coats, jackets, trousers, pajamas and other type of garments. Cashmere is expensive because the production is not cheap and the cashmere itself is scarce. More than two goats can only be used to make one sweater. The process of separating the coarse protective top coat during the molting season sometime is done by hand, which is the reason why the cost is pretty expensive.
When choosing cashmere based garments, there are things you need to pay attention to:
1. Read the label, even when the sign is written “cashmere” it doesn’t mean it was made from 100% cashmere or even 50%. Read the label and figured how many percent cashmere used to make the product. If it’s not written then it is wise not to buy it.
2. Feel the fabric. A slippery cashmere means that the fabric has been processed and will not stay long when worn.
3. Massage the fabric, if it begin to roll up or pill if you rub it then it has a lower quality.
4. Burn test, real cashmere will smell like human hair when burnt. Take only a thread of the fabric when using this test.
Merino wool, is wool comes from the merino sheep which is usually breed for its wool. Merino wool have a fine and soft texture. Merino sheep was first bred in Spain and in the 1797 the breed was introduced in Australia. The merino wool fabric is only used to refer to 100% merino wool sheep reared in Spain or any other country. It has to be noted that not all merino sheep is able to make wool which is suitable for clothing. This will depend on the particular strain of the breed. Since merino wool is made from natural fabric, it will not leave waste on our planet, the fabric will decompose just like human hair. It is also said that fabric made from merino wool have antibacterial properties, because the presence of lanolin and keratin. Lanolin and keratin are wax made by sheep and have an antibacterial and microbial properties.
|Cashmere Wool||Merino Wool|
|- It comes from goat. Cashmere is made from Cashmere goat and some other type of goats||- It come from a specific breed of sheep called merino sheep|
|- The price is pretty expensive and not all people can afford it||- The price is pretty affordable|
|- It is pretty rare, and not all store may sell them||- You can get them pretty easily in stores|
|- It has a plush softness texture which is very obvious||- It has a superior elasticity compare to cashmere|
These two different kind of wool is pretty much interchangeable. They look very similar and if you are not into details, you may not mind much about their differences. But it is recommended to think about the purpose of the piece of garment you want to buy first, if it is an active wear it is recommended to pick the merino wool based one, because it is more durable compare to cashmere. Other than that both of them does not differs very much. Still your taste matter on this, if you prefer one over the other, you may choose the one which will suit your preference better.