Part 2: The Fiber
Garnet Hill design gurus Karen and Erin recently set their email autoreplies to way-out-of-office and journeyed 6,000 miles from New Hampshire to Inner Mongolia. They set out to visit the happy goats and talented makers who bring our cashmere designs to life. This is the story, in three parts, of their adventure…
If Kashmir goats are the stars of our farm-to-form story, and the sweaters stroll the red carpet in the third act, this is the less glamorous yet all-important middle step, where raw fleece becomes luxurious fiber.
The fleece from those VIP goats we met on Inner Mongolian farms arrives at the China combing facility to be cleaned and processed. It’s spread on tables where workers remove remaining guard hairs (those are the goats’ outer hairs, which protect the cherished fibers underneath).
The fleece travels to a black-lit room where any remaining debris is easily identified.
Throughout the entire cleaning process at this facility, humidity is managed to prevent breakage. The fiber is stronger when wet.
It seems to be snowing cashmere in here.
A variety of machines refine and narrow the fleece. Here, it became translucent as we watched, resembling cloud layers on a summer day.
Water used to process our cashmere is treated at an on-site facility, then irrigates plants around the campus. Sustainability is integral from field to form.
Once the cashmere is spun into yarn, the fibers are sampled and tested by hand for length and strength.
Read part 1: The Fleece
Read part 3: The Form