Cashmere - The Origin of a Secret
Cashmere by Loro Piana
The origin and natural cycle of cashmere
Loro Piana has two core businesses: selling fabrics and selling garments. The brand prides itself on sourcing the finest rarest raw materials the world has to offer, like cashmere from Capra Hircus Goats living in Mongolia. Thanks to its investments in raw materials and production, its continued technical innovation it has set the benchmark of the world’s finest yarns and fabrics.
Cashmere is part of their tradition and innovation. Cashmere comes from the underfleece of the Capra Hircus Goat. Cashmere stands for quality because of its softness. These goats live on the mountain plateaus of Asia in extremely harsh weather conditions and have evolved through these conditions. They have a fine fleece beneath a coarser outer coat to get through this weather – a genuine natural treasure known as cashmere.
Herders know their land and the animals that inhabit it so well – they recognize the signs to collect the precious cashmere fibres at the right time, which is during the natural cycle of life, in order to preserve its quality. In May, when the weather gets softer, the goats lose this fine fleece, and herders comb it from their fleece, which is approximately 200 grams of fibre. The goats are bred sustainably by the herders. This fibre is bought by Loro Piana and is processed in its mills in Italy, like they have been doing for six generations already.
"It takes the most difficult environments on the planet for them to thrive, by dint of work, expertise, time, and the struggle for life.”
The environment include the Altai and Helan mountains, the dunes of the Gobi Desert and the Alashan County. In the environment where the goats are bred by the herders, the climate changes tremendously, having different seasons in one day. Extreme cold during winter, and while spring is softer, there are dangerous sandstorms. During summer rain is rare, which results in scarcity of water and food.
Luc Jacquet, an ecologist and filmmaker, has made a film for Loro Piana called ‘Cashmere – The Origin of a Secret, focusing on one of the brand’s excellences. This film is a tribute to the traditional goat herders of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, who have been working in the world’s harshest weather conditions and landscapes to create one of the softest fibres.
This is now threatened by forces beyond their control, as the demand for cashmere was growing, which disrupted the ecological balance, and downgraded the quality of the fibre. Therefore Loro Piana works solely and closely with local communities and producers and protects and conserves native species and the fragile ecosystem of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. In this way the brand works together with nature to produce the world’s best fabric and at the same time sustains natural environments and cultures.
By going there, Jacquet was able to see and portray the evolution. “There is no will, it is just a matter of time and evolution. Humans evolve with the animals, you cannot remove one without the other. In the end, it is evolution that produces these amazing fibres”, says Jacquet.
As Jacquet stated “it takes the most difficult environments on the planet for them to thrive, by dint of work, expertise, time, and the struggle for life.”