The soft and fine fibre that we know as "Cashmere" is nothing more than the under fleece of Kashmir goat a quite rare species who lives in China (Tibet and Mongolian highlands) and Iran.
The use of cashmere as a precious fibre is very old (dating back to Roman times) but only in nineteenth century, when Joseph Dawson a Scottish manufacturer, designed the mechanical method to separate the fine fibres from the rough one, was the time when the modern era of cashmere began.
Recently this manufacturing process came back to China where the fibre was born. Importing the newest technology and quality control from Japan, China became the biggest cashmere knitwear producer.
To get the wool from this goat breed only the best part of the animal fleece is used, the undercoat - this wool grows from mid-summer until the end of winter - this is the period when the natural molt occurs. It is with a manual brushing of the wool that the flakes are gathered.
The resulting flakes are then washed, brushed, dyed and mechanically spun. Manual work returns to the weaving of clothes.
Why this kind of fine wool is so warm and light? Because inside it houses a special structure similar to an air chamber that favours thermal insulation. A pure cashmere scarf will definitely be your neck’s best friend, with both the bad winter weather the hot summer weather.
The pure cashmere fabric is exceptionally sensitive and it will require good care of the item of clothing. The typical pilling effect will be in any case present, but is a sign of quality rather than the opposite.
The main characteristic of the cashmere is its very fine and soft fibre, to increase these characteristics to the maximum, the mesh is treated to bring the thinner fibres on the surface, to have a soft and smooth hand; any type of friction on the surface then creates the pilling effect.
The pills however can be removed with a clothes brush, and it does not affect the hand of the item of clothing. Mckenzie’s top quality cashmere is branded Duncan Cameron of Hawick.
Cotton, whose term comes from the Arabic al-Katun, which means "land of conquest," was already present before the second millennium BC in India and also in Peru and was introduced in the West, first in Sicily, in the ninth century, and only later throughout Europe.
The cotton fibre is obtained from the cotton wool that surrounds the seeds of plants of the genus Gossypium and is therefore a vegetable fibre: cotton cultivation is widespread in many countries and the most valuable are the Egyptian and Peruvian. The cotton is used in all sectors of the textile industry but, although it is one of the most versatile fibres, is used mainly to manufacture clothing and household items (bedding and furniture).
To classify the quality of cotton, you have to examine the physical characteristics of the fibre: the length, fineness, strength, elasticity, colour, cleanliness and consistency.
The length of the fibre extracted is the decisive factor to determine its quality. The longer the fibre, the greater the economic value of the tissue that results, that will be more resistant, soft and comfortable.
Although the properties of cotton may vary depending on the quality, they can be generally summarized in:
- It is very comfortable because it does not irritate the skin.
- High degree of moisture absorption.
- It promotes the maintenance of body heat.
- It is a breathable fibre because it promotes evaporation and dispersion of moisture absorbed
- Toughness since it is more resistant to breakage compared to the wool when subjected to tension.
- Easy dyeing.
Cotton however presents some flaws including a high degree of crease and shrink and low elasticity. Colours can fade and ruin if the item of clothing is exposed to sunlight for a long time. Is subject to mildew if stored in humid and poorly ventilated enclosed spaces.
It is not easy to create a 100% cotton shirt that does not need to be ironed at all.
The traditional “Non-Iron” technologies only apply a coating to the surface of the fabric. The secret of our "Non-Iron" shirts is in the fabric and are:
- An innovative treatment of the fibre, which prevents the formation of wrinkles caused by the heat and humidity of the daily use and washing processes.
- Taped seams.
- A finishing treatment with high temperatures.
In this way, the non-iron cotton maintains a flawless appearance for much longer compared to fabrics treated with traditional technique.
Pima cotton, which is similar to Egyptian cotton, it is also known as "extra-long fibre" and its name derives from a tribe of native South Americans called Pima Indians. It is a type of cotton that is located in Peru, south-west of the United States, as well as in parts of Australia and is a naturally more resistant than the common cotton and absorbent than other types present on market.
The United States is among the world's largest producers of cotton and a small portion of the US production of cotton is Supima (Pima or Superior), with white, thin and long fibres.
Its cultivation is located in the western and south-western United States and the main identifying feature is the absence of pollution in the fibres. This makes it ideal for the production of fabrics for white shirts.
The characteristics of Supima cotton are:
- Softness: the extra length of the Supima fibre creates fabric softer and thinner
- Color: Supima cotton absorbs the dyes at a uniform speed compared to other cottons, giving more vibrant and long-lasting colours to the tissues
- Durability: Supima cotton can withstand the application of treatments and finishes better than other cottons.
The sheep from which we get this wool are accustomed to extreme temperature changes and adverse weather conditions and for this reason they have developed special features, which far exceed those of others sheep.
The Merino wool has unique qualities:
- An absorbent effect through porous hairs that convey the humidity to the outside making it evaporate, thus helping to prevent the cold.
- An isothermal effect because it insulates the body inside it. This type of wool does not heat but simply keeps the heat produced by the body and for this reason merino wool garments can be worn in the warm seasons and are called "cool wool" or "Four Seasons";
- A pesticide effect, because the structure of the hairs prevents the accumulation of dirt. Moreover, the absence of heat and humidity inside the fleece prevents the formation for an environment suitable for the proliferation of pests, mites in particular.
This type of wool is particularly sought after because of its subtlety, which depends on the fact that the hairs of a merino sheep is thinner than the hairs of a common sheep. Generally, a hair with a diameter of 20 microns or less comes from a merino sheep; merino wool garments are resistant to wear and folds like a plain wool suit but they are lighter..
Garments made with CASHWOOL® can be immediately recognize by touch: fine wool lamb, soft and warm only comparable to cashmere. The raw material used, is the merino wool, is distinguished from all others by its unique properties: white, strong, bright, naturally elastic and especially soft, slightly undulating, has a compact design that makes it suitable for the production of yarns for high quality knitwear.The secret and the prestige of the extra-fine wool ZEGNA BARUFFA LANE BORGOSESIA reside primarily in a careful selection of raw materials. After the shearing of sheep are chosen only the parts of the fleece with the best characteristics in terms of finesse, height, style and minimal presence of black hairs. Merino wool CASHWOOL® Extrafine which is selected looks so compact, white, crimped and very inflating, all important characteristics for a knitting yarn of the highest quality. As it regards the fineness of the hairs the CASHWOOL® of ZEGNA BARUFFA LANE BORGOSESIA is made exclusively with fibres of fineness of less than 19.5 microns.
CASHWOOL® Merino Extra Fine is only a product of Zegna BARUFFA LANE BORGOSESIA .
CASHWOOL® Merino Extrafine è solo un prodotto di ZEGNA BARUFFA LANE BORGOSESIA.
It is an old kind of wool, perhaps more than a thousand years, who comes from a famous breed of sheep native of the Shetland Islands, whose fleece can have different colours, 11 main colours including silver gray, brown and black.
This variety of wool has been commercially important for the wool industry of the Shetland Islands, where natural wools were often used undyed. Even the tweed is produced from Shetland wool but the islands are best known for their multicolour knitwear.
This type of high-quality wool is very durable and does not become matted. It is slightly rough and hairy and is used for the production of heavy garments and sportswear, such as sweaters and jackets.
Linen is a fibre of vegetable origin and is contained in the internal part of the cortex of the plant. To obtain the fibre the stalks are dried and later put to macerate for a few days in water, or through the action of steam or a particular kind of bacteria. With this process the substances that bind the filaments between them, decomposes and dissolves, thus releasing the fibres. The next step consists in removing the woody parts and separate the fibres.
At the end of this procedure, you have rough linen, which is subjected to the combing to separate the long fibres from short and broken fibres, which constitute the tow.
The different flax fibers are classified according to the degree of fineness: Linen fabrics are used for the packaging of household linens (tablecloths, sheets, towels) and summer clothing for both men and women for its characteristics of high breathability.
Linen is a rigid fibre so a linen garment is generally more resistant but quickly take a wrinkled look, main feature that distinguishes this fabric.
The production of silk - or sericulture - has a long history that began in China several thousand years before Christ. The silk is a fabric produced by the silkworms, or larvae, of a particular species of butterfly, the Bombyx mori. The silkworms of this species secrete silk to build around themselves a cocoon inside which they undergo metamorphosis to become a butterfly.
The technique of silk production long remained a secret for Westerners, but they were familiar with this kind of fabric, that arrived along the trade routes already in very ancient times. Only in the 13th century even Europe, and Italy in particular, developed its own production of silk.A special feature of this fibre is the length of the filament that can easily get to 700-800 meters. This makes it the longest animal fibre. The tissue obtained from the yarn is lighter and prettier at sight than the wool or cotton, is very durable and retains heat in winter and cool in summer. Its high price is due to the complexity and high costs of production. The silk is a material easy to dye as the protein-based substance that constitutes it - the fibroin - is akin to almost all types of dyes.