HOW TO CHOOSE QUALITY GARMENTS
FOR YOUR WARDROBE
Have you ever been out shopping and picked up a luxury quality cashmere jumper, and a few washes later, it is covered in bubbles? Or picked up a wool coat that feels itchy to the skin?
Luxury garments can be made of different quality fabrics, from natural to manufactured; however, how do you distinguish which ones are really fine quality fabrics that will make your garment last?
We invite you to sit back and enjoy your cup of coffee whilst we take you into the world of luxury and make sure you make the right decisions and choose quality garments next time you shop.
what do we mean by luxury quality?
Quality is often associated with a certain standard. Luxury quality fabrics most often have many prominent properties. They are often woven of exclusive fibres with a unique design or handwork. For these reasons, certain fabrics are considered luxurious. For example, some traditional luxury fabrics include silk, cashmere and fine wool. They are also luxurious due to their exquisite qualities and limited availability.
Cashmere is one of these luxury fabrics. The finest cashmere comes from the coldest regions of Mongolia. The freezing temperatures stimulate the growth of the goat’s super soft undercoat due to their adaption to the climate.
FABRIC fibres and their characteristics
Fabrics possess particular characteristics based on the molecular structure of their fibres that create a certain look and feel. To understand the qualities of different fabrics, let’s look at the fibres under a microscope.
Although many fibres possess a smooth texture under a microscope, this does not necessarily mean they are the best quality fibres. Although the polyester fabric is particularly strong due to its man-made fibres, it does not offer that pure irresistible feel. It can made from coal, oil and water and can includes some unnatural chemicals that are not made for constant human contact. Garments made of polyester do not last long, and after a few times you wear it, you’ll find your garment fading or even tearing.
Coarse wool and fine wool appear to have an irregular rough scale-like structure that replicates its feel to the skin as although wool may be a durable fibre, it does not obtain that plush softness we all admire. Alpaca wool attains a slightly softer structure that creates a supple feel and provides excellent insulation and durability when the fibre is used.
Cashmere is the king of fabric as it possesses all luxury quality characteristics when for warmth, durability and looks. To understand the extraordinary abilities of this admirable fabric, take a closer look at the smooth and natural fluidity of cashmere fibres on the graph.
FABRIC FIBRES - VIEW UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Silk has a smooth structure that replicates its feel of soft and breathable fabric when worn. It is considered a luxury fabric as it offers an appealing look and feels beautiful to the skin. At SAFIRO, we skilfully line all garments with silk-satin, a breathable and whisper-soft fabric that is a delight to wear.
Similarly to silk, linen offers a breathable softness when worn due to its smooth light structure.
THE BEAUTY OF CASHMERE
Cashmere is a special type of wool, which is incredibly soft. It is made from goat hair, which is less than 18.5 micrometers in diameter and much thinner than wool fibres under a microscope. Its fibres measuring 8-10 microns in width make it eight times warmer than any other wool, creating that lavish soft warmth to the skin that we all adore.
Although it may not look it, cashmere is also very durable. The strength of cashmere is far better than wool, giving it a more significant advantage when used in garments as it’s durable, warm and irresistibly soft. Cashmere fibres have strong properties and can last for 30 years or longer.
Producing cashmere is a time-consuming process because cashmere hair has to be carefully separated from the goat’s protective top coat during the spring molting season. This requires combing each animal by hand and selecting the finest hairs before trimming them away. This is the reason only limited amount of cashmere is produced every year.
In addition, the reason cashmere quality differs is because the colour, texture and length of the goat hair influence pricing and manufacturing process. The origin of cashmere makes a difference. For example, the harsh, icy climate of Mongolia results in animals growing the finest, softest hair.
Different grades of cashmere
Cashmere can come in many different qualities. These are usually categorised into grades.
This is the highest quality cashmere as the fibres will be long and fine. The diameter of the fibres can be as low as 14-15.5 microns, with a length of 34- 36mm.
This will be thicker and not as soft as Grade A cashmere, with a diameter of 19 microns. This is still considered a high-grade cashmere; however, compared to Grade A, it will be noticeably less durable and valuable.
This is the lowest quality grade for cashmere due to the fibres being much thicker. With a diameter of around 30 microns, it is much cheaper than the other grades as it will not feel as soft.
DID YOU KNOW? SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT CASHMERE:
- The first garments made from cashmere were darned into socks for the King of Kashmir in the 14th century?
- Despite being six times finer than human hair, this lightweight fabric offers three times more insulation than sheep’s wool.
- Cashmere is tough. Treated kindly, it will never stretch, or fade and a well-made cashmere coat can last for generations.
- Cashmere is eight times warmer than wool, making it perfect for cooler weather.
The strength and sensuality of silk
For five thousand years, silk has been considered a beautiful fibre. Its threads have woven through the fabric of human history since its accidental discovery in China all that time ago. Silk’s molecular structure is unique among natural fibres that possess luxury quality as it combines versatility, functionality and beauty.
Silk is the strongest natural textile in the world, part of this strength comes from the length of its fibres. It has a smooth structure that replicates the fabric’s feel of being soft and breathable. Its strength and resilience make silk valuable as a material.
However, perhaps silk’s most profound attractions are aesthetic with qualities that appeal to both, the senses and the mind. The way it glides through your skin creates a pleasurable and sensual experience due to its molecular structure of collagen and keratin. As a very fine yarn, the weave of the silk includes a variety of ways, from the loose sheer floating chiffons to the tight jacquard pattern.
“Once you feel silk satin against your skin, it’s hard putting anything else on. That blissful, cool feeling makes wearing clothes such a joy.” Yulia Shirokova, SAFIRO
Are luxury quality natural fabrics sustainable?
Due to its strength and longevity, natural fabrics, such as silk and cashmere, allow us to create more sustainable garments that you can pass through generations. These garments are considered an investment because cost per wear is very competitive when you consider how many times you can wear them.
The natural qualities of silk and cashmere also make these fabrics suitable for every season. In addition, like a bottle of fine wine, a good cashmere fabric only gets better and softer the more you wear it. And unlike other fibres, a well-made cashmere piece usually won’t pill.
Scientists have recently explored ethical approaches of obtaining our much-loved cashmere to protect our planet. The UN is currently working with cashmere farmers and the Mongolian state to deliver sustainable cashmere with blockchain. Blockchain highlights producers who are following sustainable practices. This means that consumers will be able to reward sustainability in Mongolia by choosing products considered to be socially, economically and environmentally beneficial.
“At SAFIRO, we create more than just beautiful garments. It is a special feeling and a way of life that allows us express our individuality through our unique style, with limited edition collections.” Yulia Shirokova, Founder, SAFIRO
Luxury quality fabrics make beautiful garments
At SAFIRO, we use the highest quality fabrics to create our beautiful handmade garments. Ethically focused, we admire to create the best garments for you that can be kept in your wardrobes for a lifetime and passed down to your loved ones!
Cashmere is a fabric we aspire to use throughout our collections to create that sensual experience every time you wear one of our pieces. We welcome you to incorporate these unique pieces into your wardrobe to add warmth, comfort and character to your look.
A charming addition to your attire could be with one of our Orchid Kimono Jackets; they are handmade from double cashmere and come in several colours. Pair it with our delicate Rosaline Light Wool Dress for that perfect spring day pastel look. You can swap an Orchid Kimono Jacket for our most delicate Pearl Evening Cape for an evening look. Keep looking stylish from day to evening – these coats are versatile and a joy to wear.