The Economics Of Cashmere

December 28, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

With winter coming to the northern hemisphere, a cashmere sweater is on the wish-list of many. But why is it so expensive? Aisha Harris had the answer:

  • Cashmere has long been associated with class. Ever since the 1500s Indian Emperors used the material to signify status.
  • In the present day there is a lot of demand for the material. It is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool despite its light weight.
  • However supply is a problem. Cashmere comes from the undercoat of goats specifically bred to produce the wool.
  • It takes the wool from two goats to produce enough material for a single sweater.
  • Producing the wool is a costly process. The undercoat needs to be separated from the coarser top coat by hand.
  • All of this means that only 30,000 pounds of cashmere is produced every year…while 3 billion pounds of sheep’s wool is.

Read more about where the material is produced, when it first appeared in Europe, and where the name ‘cashmere’ comes from over here.

Source: Slate