Cashmere is King
Cashmere is considered the "King of Natural Fibers". Best known in recent times as a luxury fiber, cashmere has been in use for thousands of years. The exceptional softness is its crowning characteristic in today's apparel circles, however this natural fiber has been greatly admired for its performance properties over millennia.
Prometheus Design Werx chose to work with cashmere because of its exceptional characteristics across the board.
Like the premium merino yarns, cashmere shares the key ability to insulate in cold-wet weather. As many know, natural fabrics which absorb and hold water like cotton or linen are not well suited for cold-wet weather. They have been and are a frequent contributor to hypothermia. Cotton can absorb and hold up to 25x its own weight in water. Wool and cashmere on the other hand absorb only 1/3rd of their own weight in water. Cashmere like merino, continue to insulate when wet allowing users to retain heat and their core temperature in cold-wet conditions.
From here cashmere begins to surpass and outshine merino and other wools. Cashmere is at least 3X warmer then wool. That is, for the same weight, cashmere will insulate 3 times better than it's wool equivalent. Why? Because cashmere is a hollow natural fiber. Wool is not. Hollow fibers allow the trapping of air and when warmed by body heat, retains that warmth.
Cashmere is also stronger and lighter than its equivalent in wool. That means, you can use a cashmere product which is notably lighter weight and less bulky that its wool counterpart, as well as a higher warmth to weight ratio.
And YES, cashmere is soft, exceptionally so. The next to skin comfort from all yarns and textiles made from animals hairs is unequalled.
Wool is harvested from sheep. Much of of the sheared fibers (dense hair) from a sheep can be then used to make the wool yarns.
Cashmere is harvested from a particular species of goats, and only the downy undercoat is used to produce the yarns. The surrounding "guard hairs" of the goat must be separated from the downy undercoat, and only those hairs are turned into cashmere yarns.
Merino is considered the high standard in sheep wool. For most it is a very comfortable, top quality, natural performance fiber. Most outdoor consumer goods made from merino have a 18.9 to 21.5 micron rating, that is, the width of the fiber. The smaller micron number, the finer and softer next to skin it is. 18.9 being finer and softer than 21.5 microns in merino.
The cashmere PDW uses is around 15 to 16 microns. This means that it's amazingly soft when it comes to next to skin comfort. PDW also went to one of the ancestral centers of cashmere development and production, Mongolia. Here, cashmere has been processed for thousands of years and the quality of the cashmere is considered in the world's top percentile.
Cashmere has a long storied history. As a performance yarn, and also as a luxury yarn.
Not all cashmere is created equal, PDW went and selected the world's finest to use in our products.
Merino and cashmere when humanely harvested and sustainably processed, are wonderful natural fibers. They are smart and worthwhile alternatives to all the petroleum based synthetics on the market. If you are looking for the best natural performance fiber being produced today, Cashmere is King and is your finest choice.