1: Herbert Stevenson
MIKA & MILO is a multi-award winning Scottish woollen company which was born out of a rich history in textiles.
Our founder's family have been working with natural fibres for well over a century.
It all started with Aiko Stevenson's Great-Grandfather Herbert Stevenson who ran his own woollen mill producing fine Scottish Tweeds on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
2: Peter Stevenson
By the time her father Peter joined the team, their own brand of Macnab Tweeds was sold throughout the US, Europe and Asia.
He then added cashmere to the mix.
In the past, Scottish cashmere was the finest in the world.
However, as labour costs rose in the UK, it started to become too expensive to produce and unable to compete with the meteoric rise of China.
3: Inner Mongolia
Fast forward 100 years, and today most of the world’s top-grade cashmere now comes from the blustery plains of Inner Mongolia where the bitter winter cold helps the goats to grow a fine inner coat to keep them warm.
And, it is this fine inner coat which makes the most delicious cashmere jumpers.
But, did you know one goat only produces enough yarn to make one baby-sized jumper a year? And, that's why a good quality cashmere sweater can be rather pricey.
4: Cashmere Inner Coat: Hair Cut
Please note that the goats are only shorn once a year in April when they no longer need this warm inner coat: temperatures soar over 30C during the summer so it is a kindness to remove it. After all, we all shear our dogs during the heat and the same principle applies to the goats.
5: Goat Interbreeding: Thicker Fibres
However, did you know that fine top-grade cashmere is now becoming scarce as many herders interbreed their goats with coarser-haired animals in order to produce more yarn to meet breakneck international demand for cashmere? But, by increasing quantity, they are only forsaking quality.
In fact, the average cashmere fibre width has only been getting thicker and thicker every year: 0.07 microns per annum to be precise. And, if it maintains this current pace, it will be thicker than wool in 20 years time.
6: Ethical, Sustainable & Top-Grade Cashmere
This marks yet another reason why one should stay away from fast-fashion.
At MIKA & MILO we only use the finest cashmere.
It is not only softer for our Little Ones, but it also protects the livelihoods of these goat herders who depend on cashmere for their way of life.
After all, who will buy their cashmere in two decades time when it is as coarse as wool?
In fact, one of the cashmere partners that we work with has its very own fine-haired goat farm committed to protecting top-grade Inner Mongolian cashmere as it will only become more and more rare in the future.
How Our Founder Set Up Mika & Milo