5 Reasons You Need a Cashmere Jumper

Remember your first cashmere jumper? The surprise at how a piece of clothing could be so buttery soft, so snuggly and gentle against your skin. (Especially after scratchy school uniforms and hand-me-down woollens.) Getting your first cashmere jumper felt like a step into adulthood, akin to finally drinking coffee or learning to drive. Many years on and you’re still hooked. Right? So are we.

What is cashmere?

Gorgeously soft, and incredibly warm, cashmere is kind of a wonder fabric. It’s made of the soft, downy underlayer of goats living in the Kashmir Valley and surrounding areas of Nepal, China and Mongolia. These particular goats (named cashmere goats) have evolved to survive a unique and changeable climate with very hot summers and brutally cold winters.

To survive temperatures that can go as low as -30°C, they have evolved to grow a double layer of fleece: one outer layer (or guard hairs) to protect them from the rain, and an undercoat of ultra-fine, ultra-insulating hairs. This layer, what we call cashmere, is what keeps them warm in the winter but not too hot in the summer.

How is cashmere sourced?

Responsibly sourced cashmere is only harvested once a year, in the spring, when the animals start to shed their winter coat. This natural by-product is carefully combed out and sorted from the thicker guard hairs leaving only the downy soft undercoat that we use in our cashmere jumpers.

After it has been sorted, the cashmere is then cleaned to remove any grease and dirt; dyed to the right colour; and then spun into yarns. It’s so soft and delicate that it needs to be treated very carefully, as any harsh chemicals or over processing could damage the fibres. Even though it’s so popular, cashmere still only makes up 0.5% of the world’s total wool production.

Why we love cashmere jumpers:

  1. They’re cosy yet breathable

    Being that all important layer that keeps cashmere goats warm at sub zero temperatures, cashmere is a truly excellent insulator. But like all wools, it’s also very breathable and great at temperature regulation. This duality is what makes cashmere jumpers a great choice year round.

  2. They’re so lightweight and comfortable

    Cashmere is a hollow fibre similar to wool but finer and lighter. This lightweight quality is what makes a cashmere jumper so comfortable. You won’t feel weighed down or restricted as with many wool jumpers, as it’s so light and easy to move in. It’s just as good for layering up in winter or throwing on after sundown on a summer evening.

  3. They’re great for travelling

    When packing light, you need good reliable clothes, something that doesn’t crease easily and toes the line between smart, casual and comfy! A cashmere jumper is useful in all manner of travel situations. Picture yourself coming in from a warm day onto an air-conditioned plane, sitting on the beach when the wind picks up, or standing on deck on a ferry, watching the waves fly by. What do you need in both those situations? Your trusty cashmere jumper: lightweight, stylish cosiness, rolled up in your bag and ready to go.

  4. A versatile wardrobe staple

    You’ll always need a good jumper to throw on, over… well pretty much everything. A cashmere jumper is timeless, especially if you choose a classic cut and neutral colours. You can’t go wrong with a grey v-neck jumper or a navy crewneck. They never look out of place, whether you’re working in the office, snuggling at home, running errands, or out for a fancy lunch. As long as you take care of them, you can keep wearing them forever.

  5. Cashmere jumpers are pure luxury

    And finally, we can’t ignore the sensual magic of cashmere. Just hearing the word pronounced makes you think ‘luxury’. A cashmere jumper is pure, tactile pleasure - especially when worn against the skin. It may elevate your look but to us, it’s all about the experience of wearing it. Go on, pop your favourite cashmere jumper on and give yourself a hug. Dreamy.

Now we know we want one, what should we look for? What makes a good quality cashmere jumper?

  • To make sure you’re getting a quality cashmere jumper, ideally, you want to touch it. Look for a plush softness that shows the soft downy hair has been fully separated from the thicker, coarser guard hairs we talked about earlier.
  • You’ll also want to see some thickness. (Some manufacturers will cut costs by making their jumpers very thin.) The best online brands will add the weight in the description so you can tell how warm your jumper will be.
  • You can also check for a sheen. Unlike most wools, cashmere’s sheen is very muted. If the jumper is quite reflective, it might have been woven with other textiles. This is a common ploy by many unscrupulous sellers of cashmere jumpers - what is claimed to be 100% cashmere is very often anything but.
  • You should also look at the grade of cashmere. There are three primary grades of cashmere used in jumpers - A, B and C. The gradings refer to the width of the fibres, measured in microns. C grade cashmere is the thickest at 30 microns, B at around 18-19 microns, and A goes as low as 15. The thinner the fibres, the finer the feel. So if you want the very best look for 100% A-grade Mongolian cashmere. A grade cashmere represents less than 10% of the world’s supply.

    What makes Rise & Fall’s cashmere jumpers so special?

    If you like your cashmere jumpers' premium quality, buttery soft and made with sustainability in mind, then Rise & Fall have the jumpers for you.

    Forget seasons, our paired back collection of cashmere jumpers sticks to classic colours and timeless styles that can be worn year-round, time and time again. A classic crew neck jumper will never go out of style, making it the perfect addition to your capsule wardrobe.

    We use 100% A-grade Mongolian cashmere, the best of the best when it comes to cashmere jumpers. Producing the longest, finest yarns, and measuring at 15.5 microns and 34-36mm in length, these luxurious fibres make up less than 10% of the world’s cashmere supply. It’s these long, luscious fibres that make our cashmere jumpers soft, strong and long-lasting.

    Our cashmere is woven in a mill that is certified by the Good Cashmere Standard, the Sustainable Fibre Alliance and the Responsible Wool Standard – ensuring grasslands are preserved, farmers are fairly paid and the entire cycle is sustainable. We only comb our cashmere fibres in the spring, just as the goats are ready to shed their winter coats because we know happy goats make for happy jumpers.

    Find out more about what makes our cashmere jumpers the best here.