The goal was to find a way to make the world-renowned, unrivaled softness of cashmere wearable day in and day out – to make it easy to care for and strong enough to hold up to a day of running from meeting to meeting, to dinner with friends. Something you could bike home in and fall asleep in.
The challenge? Cashmere is tricky to care for. It requires hand washing, delicate handling and time-consuming trips to the dry cleaner.
The much-loved fibre comes from Kashmir goats that live high in the mountains of Mongolia and Northern China. To withstand winter weather at such high elevations Kashmir goats grow a uniquely insulating coat. Their hair is incredibly fine, measuring between 14 and 16 microns (most common types of wool measure between 20 and 40 microns). When summer hits, the Kashmir goat needs to shed its coat. The finest hair is brushed from the underside of their chin (or beard, if you prefer). It is then washed, dyed and spun into yarn. It is naturally insulating, breathable and famous for its hand-feel – soft and weightless, like a cloud.
Cashmere yarn has been used to make garments since long before your grandma’s grandma was alive, and mills have mastered spinning this delicate fibre through centuries of practice. So when Kit and Ace’s resident Raw Materials expert, Michelle Lei, walked into a traditional Italian mill with an idea from the future – to make cashmere machine washable and dryable – history was against her.
For months she worked with these mills, convincing them to jump on her experimental bandwagon and together they tested out other natural fibres and stretch to find the perfect combination to support the pillar of softness – cashmere – in a never-done-before technical yarn.
Over 50 iterations later, the Raw Materials team presented options to Kit and Ace’s designers to develop their first full-fledged Technical Cashmere™ garments. The end result was a naturally breathable fabric with the incredible hand-feel of cashmere and the durability of your wash-and-go wardrobe.
Today, you can find 36 t-shirt styles, skirts, tanks and long sleeves crafted with nature’s softest fibres – safe for the washer and dryer, and breathable enough to wear 365 days a year.