I recently had a question come up between the difference of cashmere vs. merino wool. Although I have been a fan of cashmere sweaters for a long time due to their extreme softness, I have been disappointed in the overall longevity of the products. This seems to be more specific to some of the discount cashmere sweaters that are sold at the large department store chains but nonetheless is worthy of discussion. Below is a brief explanation of the differences between merino wool and cashmere.
Cashmere comes from the hair of the Kashmir goat. Native to India, Tibet, Turkistan, Iran, Iraq, and China, the Kashmir goat produces hair with a lofty feel and natural crimp. Cashmere is often far more expensive than merino wool partly because true cashmere is actually the downy type wool that grows closer to the goats body. The cashmere is gatherede by combing the goat rather than clipping which will only produce a small amount per goat. One other important thing to note is that goat hair is a hollow type fiber which aids in creating a warmer garment but does not hold some of the more amazing properties as merino wool.
Merino Wool, as I hope you have gathered from my other posts is gather from the merino sheep which is most often raised in Australia and New Zealand. It is fine, strong, naturally elastic, holds dye well, and its softness resembles the hand of cashmere. Merino wool does not have the itchy feel of some wools, is odor absorbent, and provides high levels of UV protection. One of the most important factors with merino is it’s durability. Merino wool fabric can be transformed into many more versatile materials besides a soft sweater. For example, right now I am wearing merino wool socks, merino wool house slippers, boxer briefs and a merino wool long sleeve shirt. Good luck trying to pull that off with Cashmere!