Cashmere Redefined: Pamper Yourself with the King of Fibers

Happening Issue 64 Jul, 2010
Text by Rishi Amatya

Cashmere or pashmina is luxuriant wool, and has been the unrivalled king of fibers. Its silken feel, feather-light weight, and elegance, make it highly desirable for fashion conscious people the world over. In the west it has always been known as cashmere.

Pashmina has a most interesting history. It was once worn exclusively by royalty. Napoleon is said to have popularized the use of cashmere as shawls or wraps when he gave his second wife, Empress Eugenie, seventeen of them. In the recent past, cashmere captured the hearts of millions as Lana Turner, the ‘original sweater girl’, created a phenomenon when she wore a tight cashmere sweater in a 1937 film ‘They Won’t Forget’. Cashmere soon became haute couture. Cashmere evening sweaters with heavily encrusted jewels and embroidery became popular during the 1940s, and the famed sweater ruled the ’50s.

Despite the glamor associated with cashmere, it hails from humble beginnings. The name of the fabric is derived from an archaic spelling of Kashmir. Cashmere is the wool or fur obtained from the Cashmere goat (Capra hircus Laniger). It is harvested from the goats during their annual molting season through the shedding or the shearing of their down. The finest cashmere comes from the underbelly and throat of the goats, but a lesser grade is also taken from the goats’ legs and backs. Longer fibers from the belly and throat area make the wool especially soft and cause less ‘pilling’ when the fibers are woven into garments. The shorter fibers from the backs and legs are heavier and less expensive, making it easier to afford a luxury garment. Cashmere comes naturally in white, gray and brown, but the wool is easily dyed, and various colored cashmere products aren’t unheard of.

A new outlet in Thamel named Nature Knit catches your eye with their quality pashmina products. With their varied products and bold designs and offerings like custom designing and specifications they are certainly redefining the cashmere market here, and in the price range that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Nature Knit was established in 2002 in Kathmandu to provide consumers with the best quality cashmere products. “Our goal is to bring the highest quality pashmina to our customers at the lowest possible price,” says Bharat Adhikari, the owner of Nature Knit.

Specializing in various pashmina garments and other accessories, their flagship products are men’s, women’s, and children’s cashmere sweaters, blankets, scarves, hats, gloves and cushion covers and any other customer specified articles. Nature Knit also takes individual customized orders. A wide variety of color combinations are possible, and the designs are a class above the rest, yet at the same time simple and elegant. “We never compromise on the quality,” adds Adhikari.  A hat costs NRs 750/- to 1399/-, a muffler, NRs 1,599/- to 7,500/-, Gloves at NRs 999/- – 2299/-, Cushion covers at NRs 899/- to 2,299/-, Sweaters, NRs 2,299/- to 14,000/-.

Apart from catering to the demands of the local market, they are also exporting their products to international markets, where cashmere has started to pick up again. “Primarily we are an export company catering to the orders of boutique sellers and bulk orders from places like the US, Switzerland, Italy and the UK. However, we also cater to the local demands for this luxuriant fiber,” informs Adhikari.     

If it’s the touch and feel of that special fabric you’re after, then pashmina is definitely for you. At Nature Knit you can fulfill your desire to own a luxury garment without breaking your back. And what’s more, the quality and feel of pashmina will leave you longing for more. Owning a garment made of cashmere is a fashion treat to be truly treasured—after all, it takes one little goat four years to produce enough wool to make just one of these sweaters.

For details: Bharat Adhikari,  Nature Knit,
Shop no. 214 Sanchayakosh Building, Thamel, 4254812 (Showroom)