Each June, Loro Piana travels to the Alashan Mountains, deep in Inner Mongolia, to harvest the soft, ultrafine, luxurious wool of the young Capra hircus goats.
Cashmere sweaters are undeniably the best thing to live in during the winter, with their ultra soft feel, and ability to keep you cozy and warm. Cashmere, named after the old spelling of Kashmir, a region in India, is taken from the wool of the Capra hircus goats, which are herded throughout China and Mongolia, and in lesser quantities in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Kyrgyzstan. In the mid-90s, Pier Luigi Loro Piana had the idea to separate the baby cashmere from that of the adults. Italian luxury label Loro Piana embarked on a decade-long mission to convince the goat herders in the region to track the six-month-old white goats in order to produce the finest cashmere knits, made from Baby Cashmere.
Baby Cashmere is extremely rare and super soft. Taken from white goats who are only six months old, its ultra-fine strands measure at 13.5 microns in diameter—15 percent finer that taken from adult goats. Comparatively, each kid—baby goat— yields just 30 grams of raw material, while an adult goat can provide around 200 grams. The Capra hircus kids live in the desert of Inner Mongolia at the Alashan Mountains, a region where water and food are scarce. The weather is extreme, with dry, scorching hot summers, and freezing winter blizzards making up the Capra hircus kids’ natural habitat, which they survive because of their insulation—the soft underfleece. The window of time in which the fibers can be harvested is extremely small: they can only be taken once in the goat’s lifetime, before it turns one, and only in the month of June, when they shed their natural protective layer.
The result is an extremely rare material that is soft, resilient, and durable. “Once the fiber is collected, it is sent back in barrels to factories in Quarona and Roccapietra, northern Italy,” said a spokesperson from Loro Piana. “The raw material goes through several quality checks before craftsmen use complex spinning and dyeing techniques, always ensuring the pure softness of the material is maintained.” This year marks a decade since the first pieces were created from this material, and to celebrate, Loro Piana is releasing Baby Cashmere Jubilee, a capsule collection that highlights the luxuriousness of this fiber. Soft turtlenecks accented with cable knit and fisherman’s rib detailing accentuate the softness of the yarn while revealing Loro Piana’s impeccable craftsmanship.