Cashmere, as well as wool or cotton, not as harmless as it seems at first glance. Nevertheless, designers and environmentalists still cannot agree on whether it is worth abandoning it entirely. If you are used to treating things with care, then cashmere can come in handy in a wardrobe - it is a light, soft and warm material that breathes well, so that things from it can be worn all year round. Our selection includes ten cashmere sweaters that have been sustainably produced or boast excellent quality and durability.
Text: Anna Eliseeva
Australian brand Mia Fratino is committed to complete control of every stage of production and delivery. The brand adheres to the principles of "slow fashion" and strives to create clothes outside of trends and times. The creators are confident that cashmere products can only be cheap if some of the processes were not ethical or environmentally friendly. Mia Fratino models are knitted from the highest category cashmere with a thickness of no more than 15 microns, which is produced in Inner Mongolia - an autonomous region of China - and the northern part of the Silk Road. Oversized sweaters, basic jumpers and long cardigans start at an average of three hundred Australian dollars.
Shilpa Shah and Carla Gallardo have been working on the brand since 2011. As the entrepreneurs say, buyers did not immediately believe the brand, which promised quality items for affordable money. Fortunately for the founders, the call to buy timeless clothing that will last for more than one season worked. The brand uses two types of cashmere - from Scotland and from Italy - preferring oversized cut and neutral shades. Cuyana is not yet delivered to Russia, so intermediary services will come in handy in this case.
Everlane is known for its transparent policy - on the brand's website you can find information about all the industries with which it works. The company itself notes that factories are assessed on criteria such as fair wages, acceptable hours of work and environmental impact. In addition, you can track how the price of a particular item is formed. For example, Everlane uses 100% premium cashmere, while the cost of products is significantly lower than that of luxury brands. For example, it cost forty-two dollars to produce one sweater for the basic Cashmere Crew collection, and now it sells for a hundred more. Other retailers would rate it, the company claims, at two hundred and ten dollars.
Uniqlo is one of the few (very few) brands that offer budget cashmere items of decent quality. According to Yuki Katsuta, head of research and development for the brand, the sweaters use the same long undercoat of Mongolian cashmere goats as in the luxury segment. It is worth remembering that Uniqlo has not yet made the process fully transparent, despite Katsuta's assurances that the brand controls production on this issue from start to finish.
The American brand Pure Collection strives to ensure that the cashmere from Inner Mongolia they use meets the most stringent requirements. For example, farmers must walk their livestock in a closed area and feed them certain food so that the animals do not eat grass, the disappearance of which leads to desertification of the region. On the brand's website, you can find classic plain jumpers, laconic soft T-shirts, and trendy minimalistic T-shirts-combination - all from 100% cashmere. And then there is delivery to Russia.
The Swedish brand Arket has a safe base from any natural material, including cashmere. In this case, you hardly need to worry about quality, but with the environmental friendliness of production, everything is not always simple. The main thing is that if you like the jumper, wear it carefully and store it for many years.
Brora is the epitome of British classics.The main assortment of the brand includes cozy jumpers, patterned sweaters and soft wrap-around cardigans. Raw materials of class A - that is, the highest - are traditionally purchased in Mongolia, and then sent to a factory in Scotland, where they are used to create finished products. Brora notes that families work in the production, passing on the traditions of manufacturing from generation to generation, and therefore many things are made using handicraft. One of the sweaters was designed by a longtime fan of the brand, actress Emma Thompson - 10% of its sales go to the Helen Bamber Foundation, which helps refugees and those who have been victims of torture or human trafficking.
COS is just as not completely transparent as Arket, and yet the brand has long established itself on the positive side - its things are high-quality, timeless and versatile. If you don't want to arrange delivery from abroad, this is one of the few stores (so far only in Moscow) where you can find a relatively affordable cashmere item. For example, the collection now includes a cream and powdery turtleneck, a knitted hoodie, classic cardigans - and all of them are cashmere. We liked a sweater that will suit literally everything and will remain relevant for many years.
& Daughter create capsule collections of knitwear, which are made by craftsmen in Scotland and Ireland. All parts of the sweater are knitted separately, and then connected by hand - some products go through twenty stages of manual work of different kinds. Basic jumpers, cardigans, turtlenecks and hats are the usual & Daughter range.
Massimo Dutti promise to reduce the negative impact of their production on the environment, believe it or not, it's up to you. What the brand cannot be denied is its quality, so lovers of classic and relaxed clothes may like one of the simple cashmere sweaters of the Spanish brand. Moreover, many basic models are waiting for the sales season.
Photos: Uniqlo, Cuyana, Everlane, Mia Fratino, Pure Collection, Arket, Brora, COS, & Daughter, Massimo Dutti