Can You Suggest Ways to Incorporate Sustainable Cashmere into Your Wardrobe?

Cashmere, wool that is softer, warmer, and more luxurious than any other, has long been the coveted material for sweaters and winter accessories. But, as consumers, you are becoming increasingly aware of the need for sustainable fashion and the impact your clothing choices have on the environment. This article will guide you on how to incorporate sustainable cashmere items into your wardrobe, highlighting the brands that promote sustainability and the ways you can care for your cashmere to ensure it lasts.

Understanding Cashmere and Its Sustainability

Before discussing how to incorporate sustainable cashmere into your wardrobes, it's crucial to understand what cashmere is and what makes it sustainable. Cashmere is a natural fabric, sourced from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats. Historically, this wool has been associated with luxury, primarily due to its softness and warmth, as well as the labor-intensive process of collecting and processing the wool.

Sustainability in cashmere production involves the ethical treatment of cashmere goats, responsible land management, fair wages for workers, and the reduction of environmental impact during the production process. It's an alternative to traditional cashmere that is often produced at the expense of the environment, with overgrazing leading to desertification in certain regions.

Several factors make cashmere a more sustainable option compared to other fabrics. Firstly, it is a natural fiber, meaning it is biodegradable. Unlike synthetic fibers, which can take hundreds of years to decompose, cashmere will return to the earth at the end of its lifecycle.

Secondly, when sourced responsibly, cashmere can actually help to support local communities. The goats from which cashmere is harvested are often reared by nomadic communities in places like Mongolia and Nepal. By choosing ethically sourced cashmere, you are supporting these traditional ways of life.

Identifying Sustainable Cashmere Brands

When incorporating sustainable cashmere into your wardrobes, you must choose brands that prioritize ethical and eco-friendly practices. Many brands are proud to share their sustainability credentials, but it's always a good idea to do your own research.

Look for brands that transparently discuss their supply chain. They should provide information on where their cashmere is sourced, how the goats are treated, and what actions they are taking to reduce their environmental impact. Brands that recycle cashmere items or use recycled cashmere in their products are also a great sustainable choice.

Brands such as Naadam, Patagonia and Stella McCartney are leading the way in sustainable cashmere fashion. They have made a commitment to ethical sourcing, sustainability, and transparency.

Caring for Your Cashmere

While buying sustainable cashmere is a vital step in your journey towards a more eco-friendly wardrobe, how you care for your items once they're in your possession is just as important. Proper care of your cashmere items can extend their lifespan significantly, reducing the need for replacement and thus lessening your environmental impact.

First, it's essential to wash your cashmere items sparingly. Despite what you might think, cashmere does not need to be cleaned every time it's worn. In fact, it's better for the fabric if you wash it as infrequently as possible. When you need to wash it, do so by hand in cold water with a mild detergent.

In addition, it's important to store cashmere correctly. Keep it in a cool, dry place, folded rather than hung, to maintain its shape. And during warmer months, when you're not wearing your cashmere, store it in a breathable bag with cedar balls to protect against moths.

Choosing Versatile Cashmere Pieces

Another way to make your cashmere clothing more sustainable is by choosing versatile pieces that will work with a variety of outfits and occasions. This way, you get the most wear out of each piece, reducing the overall number of items you need in your wardrobe.

Consider investing in a classic cashmere sweater that can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. A cashmere scarf or hat is also a versatile accessory that can add a touch of luxury to any outfit, while a pair of cashmere gloves will keep your hands toasty warm in the colder months.

Recycle or Upcycle Your Cashmere

Finally, don't just throw out your old cashmere items. Cashmere is a valuable material that can be recycled or upcycled. Some brands offer recycling programs where you can send back your used items. You can also consider selling or donating your unwanted items, or even repurposing them into something new, like a pillow or a blanket.

In summary, incorporating sustainable cashmere into your wardrobe involves mindful purchasing, proper care, versatile styling, and thoughtful disposal. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the luxury of cashmere while minimizing your impact on the environment. And remember, every sustainable choice makes a difference.

The Ethics and The Dangers of Non-Sustainable Cashmere

We have talked a lot about sustainable cashmere, but it's equally important to understand the issues surrounding non-sustainable cashmere production. The cashmere industry, if not managed properly, can have detrimental impacts on the environment, communities, and the welfare of cashmere goats.

Cashmere goats are often kept in large numbers in the same area, leading to overgrazing. This overgrazing results in desertification, especially in areas like the Gobi desert in Mongolia where a significant proportion of the world's cashmere is produced. Desertification not only destroys the habitats of many species, but also contributes to climate change.

Moreover, the non-sustainable cashmere production process can be harmful to the cashmere goats themselves. In order to keep up with the high demand for cashmere wool, goats can be sheared prematurely. Early shearing leaves the goats without their protective coats during the freezing winters, putting them at high risk of death.

The people working in non-sustainable cashmere factories often labor under harsh conditions for low wages. With no regulations to protect them, they can be exploited, working long hours to produce the cashmere sweaters and other items that fill our closets.

By choosing sustainable cashmere, you are not only choosing a high-grade cashmere product that will last, but also promoting ethical treatment of workers, responsible land use, and fair treatment of cashmere goats.

The Future of Sustainable Cashmere

The future of sustainable cashmere is promising. As awareness grows about the environmental impact of our fashion choices, more and more people are seeking out eco-friendly alternatives, including sustainable cashmere.

There is a growing trend of brands creating clothing from recycled materials, including recycled cashmere. This movement towards a more circular economy reduces waste and the demand for new resources. It’s also paving the way for innovative solutions, such as combining cashmere with other sustainable fabrics like organic cotton.

In addition, several organizations are investing in research and development to improve the sustainability of cashmere production. This includes developing better grazing practices for cashmere goats, improving the processing of cashmere fabric to reduce environmental impact, and finding ways to recycle cashmere more efficiently.

As consumers, we have the power to drive change in the fashion industry by making conscious choices about what we buy. By choosing sustainable cashmere, we can enjoy the luxury of cashmere while protecting the environment and supporting fair trade.


Cashmere is a lush and coveted material that can be enjoyed responsibly. Adding sustainable cashmere to your wardrobe doesn’t only mean buying new, eco-friendly cashmere items. It also entails caring for your cashmere properly to extend its life, choosing versatile pieces that can be worn in multiple ways to reduce overconsumption, and recycling or upcycling your old cashmere items.

The choice to switch to sustainable cashmere is a powerful statement. It reflects a commitment to reduce your environmental impact, support fair trade, and promote animal welfare. Ultimately, it contributes to a future where fashion and sustainability coexist. So, next time you go shopping, consider adding sustainable cashmere to your wardrobe. It's a small step that can make a big difference.