A conscious guide to cashmere / Grana Mongolian cashmere review
As the days grow shorter and colder, there’s nothing cozier than snuggling into a cashmere sweater. But where does this magical, impossibly soft fiber come from? How can you buy it responsibly? And how can you care for it so your cashmere continues to bring you warmth and joy for years to come?
Today’s post is all about cashmere! I’m thrilled to partner with Grana in this post, featuring their Mongolian cashmere.
Psst, there’s a discount at the end for you!
Grana’s mission is to create the highest quality clothing at affordable prices, and they do this by cutting extraneous costs. They go directly to suppliers, which also means that they can control quality and find suppliers that meet their sustainable and ethical guidelines, and they operate lean so you don’t pay for unnecessary and wasteful overhead costs.
Another thing I love about Grana: They educate consumers on their blog on how to purchase the highest quality materials and care for them!
Where does this fuzzy magic come from?
Cashmere is made from the hair of Kashmir goats, which must be combed, not shorn, for the highest quality fibers. Kashmir goats primarily live in the grasslands of Mongolia, and this is where Grana sources their cashmere.
Fun fact: It takes one goat four years to shed enough hair to produce one cashmere sweater!
Cashmere is a great temperature regulator, providing up to 8 times more warmth than wool without making you feel too hot. Its warmth and supreme softness make cashmere a luxury fiber.
How can I shop for cashmere consciously?
Quite frankly, cashmere isn’t the most sustainable fabric. While I consider natural fibers more sustainable than synthetic due to their biodegradability, other animal fibers such as alpaca and camel are less impactful to the environment.
In recent years, the growing demand for cashmere has increased the populations of Kashmir goats in Mongolia and China. This, along with climate change, has led to desertification of the Mongolian grasslands; pressure on farmers to produce more cashmere has also led to the abundance of low quality cashmere.
That being said, I do think there are responsible ways to incorporate cashmere into your wardrobe.
Here are some tips to shopping for cashmere consciously:
- Look for high quality. High quality cashmere lasts longer, reducing landfill waste. Look for 100% cashmere on the tag and a tight weave that helps the fabric retain its structure.
- Know where your cashmere comes from. Look for brands like Grana that source directly from cashmere farmers. Many brands buy their cashmere indirectly, which means they can’t control the quality of the cashmere or regulate working conditions.
- Care for your cashmere. A high quality cashmere sweater can last up to 30 years and get even softer with washing! The environmental cost of one cashmere sweater (which takes four years to collect enough hair from one goat to make) isn’t trivial, so make it last.
- Want to save money and reduce landfill waste? Rescue some cashmere from your local thrift shop!
I love my Grana cashmere sweater because it’s high quality, super soft, and keeps me warm even during Seattle’s surprise winter weather (I was dying when I took these photos because it was FREEZING, but the sweater kept my top half pretty warm!). It’s a slightly oversized, classic fit that looks good with any winter outfit—a true investment piece. Not to mention I can rest assured knowing it was made ethically!
How do I take care of this beautiful, delicate stuff???
The most intimidating thing about owning high quality clothing is that you have to take care of it! I know, it’s scary, especially when you’re as clumsy as me; eating and drinking become high stakes games of THIS IS WHY I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.
But hey, caring for cashmere isn’t actually that hard. You shouldn’t wash your cashmere items every time you wear them; in fact, I wash mine maybe once a season. And despite what many care labels insist, you don’t need to dry clean cashmere, which releases nasty toxins into the air, anyway.
Instead, you can gently hand wash your cashmere items in lukewarm or room temperature water (never hot) with wool-friendly detergent.
To dry, I like to lay the item flat on a towel and place another towel on top, roll it like a sushi roll to gently squeeze the water out, and then lay flat on a dry towel. Avoid wringing or line drying, as this will stretch and deform the fabric.
Of course, cashmere inevitably pills (i.e. little fuzzies start forming lint balls on the surface of the material). Here’s where investing pays off: High quality cashmere pills less! I’ve already noticed that my Grana turtleneck doesn’t pill easily, so I’m really happy with the quality.
To minimize pilling, avoid rubbing your cashmere against things like bag straps. When your cashmere does pill, you can gently remove the pills with a sweater shaver (I have this one from Amazon) or by gently and very carefully running a razor across the surface.
When warmth returns to your spot on the globe, store your cashmere folded and flat, not on hangers, in a cool dry place.
Use CATxGRANA for 10% off your purchase and free worldwide shipping! I’m not making any $$$ from this; it’s just for you because you’re awesome. The code is valid until the end of November.
If you’re a new customer, you can use my referral link to get 10% off your first purchase any time!
Disclosure: I was gifted these items in exchange for an honest review. No amount of money or product is worth more than my relationship with you, and I strive to provide transparent and honest content! Also, that Amazon link is an affiliate link, which means I may make a small commission if you click it and buy something.
*not all brands sold here are sustainable and ethical, but the store is a local woman-run business that sells a lot of handmade, indie, and slow fashion brands!