My family have been working in the Textile industry for well over a century. It started with my Great Grandfather who ran his own woolen mill producing fine Scottish Tweeds. By the time my Father joined the business, their own brand of Macnab tweed was sold throughout the US, Europe and Asia, and he wanted to add cashmere to mix. In the past, Scottish cashmere was the the finest in the world. However, as labour costs rose in the UK, Scottish cashmere started to become too expensive and unable to compete with the meteoric rise of China.
Fast forward 100 years, and most of the world’s top grade cashmere now comes from the blustery plains of Inner Mongolia. Temperatures routinely plunge as low as -40 degrees celsius in the winter, and it’s this frigid bitter cold which enables the cashmere goats to grow a fine inner coat to keep them warm. In the spring, the goats are combed to keep them cool in the summer heat. However, as one goat only produces enough fibre to make one cashmere sweater, this highly sought after material can be rather expensive.
My father first went up to Inner Mongolia some 40 years and has been working with our cashmere partners up there ever since. In many ways, my eventual foray into this field was inevitable. After joining the family business over a decade ago, when I was pregnant with my second child, I wanted to make something for my little ones as cashmere is both so soft yet breathable. It had to be something that was both fun and stylish, yet affordable for babies and kids to wear.
And, in this era of great climate change and sad environmental decline, it had to be something that was the antithesis of fast fashion: something that would last so that it could be passed down from sibling to sibling, and then generation to generation. After all, what could possibly be nicer than for your own kids to pass down their cashmere hand-me-downs to their own children?
Cashmere is a natural fibre which is perfect for both babies and children. It will keep them warm and snuggly, and can be worn close to the skin without feeling itchy. It also helps to regulate body temperature as it is wonderfully breathable. This is especially important for small babies so they don’t overheat like they will with synthetic fibres. Also, it is easy to take care of: simply hand wash in cold water with a drop of soap and lay flat to dry. Who said cashmere had to be fussy?