Cashmere is a very precious textile fibre which nature chose to give to only one animal, the capra hircus goat, to protect it from the freezing climate that prevails in the geographic area over or between China, India and Pakistan. Its history is deeply rooted in the ancient times of legends, which tell of it being first requested by the Sultan of Kashmir in the fifteenth Century, and then given as a wedding gift to newlyweds. Initially, it was a material only for nobility and for Tibetan monks, who kept warm in its softness during meditation and, throughout time, it has maintained its exclusiveness and its characteristics of the highest quality, which make it a unique product. From faraway Asia, cashmere has journeyed from the great times of colonization as far as the west: in fact, it was members of the East India Company who brought it to Europe for the first time in the Eighteenth Century.
What makes cashmere a precious and inimitable product, even before the mastery in production, is the climatic and natural context in which is it collected. In many contexts, throughout time, attempts have been made in vain to reproduce it: even if the hircus goats managed to survive in different environments, it is the particular atmospheric characteristics of the land of origin that make their coats, and therefore the yarn, so warm and soft to the touch.
Each phase of processing the cashmere, from collection to weaving, requires considerable expertise and extreme attention to quality and research.
The original raw material comes from the undercoat of the goat, the part that covers the animal’s abdomen, where the hair is short, straight and soft and protects efficiently from the cold. The collection is carried out in the spring, during the molting period, when the fine wool sheds naturally and is combed delicately for about twenty minutes every three or four weeks: in this way, the fibre roots are obtained without weakening them.
The duvet (as the undercoat collected is called) is ready for the next phases. The fibres are carefully selected, separated according to their fineness and are washed. In the dehairing phase, elements of dirt such as vegetable matter and external bristly hairs are eliminated. The next step is spinning, a fundamental process in cashmere processing, during which the material is transformed into very fine threads, then on to winding, a process by which any residual impurities or foreign fibres are eliminated with high-tech optical systems. The last process is twisting, the phase in which the single threads are paired up two-by-two or by three or six-ply to be then wound up, one over the other, to form hanks.
From this point onwards, the talents of the master artisans and the most innovative technologies transform the most precious yarns into the exclusive products of the Barna Cashmere line.