I was reading a book last night whose main character’s name is Precious. Maybe you’ve read some in the No.1 Ladies Detective series. They are light and easy reading at bedtime and very informative about the way of life in Botswana. But I digress. The character’s name has always intrigued me and I began to think about the word and how it is used in our industry. Precious fibers are also called luxury fibers, but I prefer the term precious. It connotes the value of these specialty hair fibers and reminds us how difficult it can be to obtain them and produce a fabrication.
Which fibers are considered precious? Cashmere, Camels Hair, Mohair, Angora, Vicuna, Llama, Alpaca. The last three are cousins in the animal kingdom. Vicuna is generally regarded as the most precious since the population was at risk for extinction at one point. Through managed efforts, the population has renewed and vicuna are sheared every two years under strict regulation. Baby alpaca produces some of the softest fibers, but that’s not to say that llama is coarse. Generally, hair fibers are blended with wool or cotton. The scarcity of the hair makes it a desirable blending for wool which is more accessible. Look for 10%-35% blends. Hair enriches the hand and the surface depth of the base fabric. Even a 10% addition can significantly alter the impact of a fabrication.
This beautiful Purple Mountain Majesty is in our current mailer to subscribers. Like most people, we were initially attracted to the color–a heathery plum/violet mix. But we were thrilled to find the fiber content a blend of wool and llama.
Cashmere is well known by most people for its delicately soft hand. Whether blended with wool or 100% cashmere, this fiber announces to the wearer and the observer alike, that it is precious indeed. In addition to its luxurioius hand, cashmere is incredibly warm, lustrous and lightweight. What more could you ask for? Wish you could feel the fine hand of this 100% cashmere currently in our Back Room collection.
Camels Hair is not as strong as cashmere, but is still many times warmer than sheep’s wool. It also has the advantage of shedding water. It dyes to many colors for fashion garments. Take advantage of the warmth and the soft hand to make jackets and suits for the season.
We know our customers appreciate extraordinary fabrics and we are influenced in our buying decisions by the presence of these precious fibers. One of our favorite combinations is cotton and cashmere…not always easy to find, but definitely worth the wait! We’re on the hunt for more this coming season.