Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Lange Reise zum Stil: Von der Ziege zum Pullover

Long Journey to Style: From Goat to Sweater

Perfectly folded and sorted by colour, the pullovers made from real luxury wool lie on carefully arranged stacks. Ready to expand your wardrobe with a new, cuddly favorite piece. But until then it is a long way in the literal sense. In between there is a long process that begins for Allude where the cashmere raw material is obtained and processed: in the People's Republic of China.

Not only do most cashmere goats graze here, but a cashmere industry has also developed here, making the country what it is today: the world's leading producer of cashmere raw materials. Of the approximately 26,000 tons of raw cashmere that are extracted and processed annually worldwide, around 18,100 tons come from China. The following excerpt from our extensive book " Cashmere " explains how the luxury wool from an idyllic mountain region finds its way into boutiques all over the world and into our online shop. Have fun on this journey into a fascinating world of perfect craftsmanship:

Long Journey into Style: From the goat to the cashmere sweater

Xinjiang production site

A particularly popular region for production is Xinjiang, which means something like "New Frontier Region", the westernmost region of China. It takes up one sixth of the total area and is characterized by different landscapes. Boundless, inhospitable desert areas alternate with massive, snow-covered glaciers, evergreen forests and crystal-clear mountain lakes, in between oases with bazaars, mosques, Buddha caves, but also conurbations like the capital ÜrÜmqi at the foot of the Tianshan Mountains with more than two million inhabitants. The city is influenced by the Islamic culture of Central Asia and is important in the steel and textile industries.

The Silk Road used to run here and connected the different worlds. Today there are more than 2000 manufactories in Xinjiang that have specialized in the production of cashmere. Allude has been working with various local production facilities for more than 20 years and has made the best companies with the highest technical standards and certified production conditions its partners right from the start.

A major advantage is the proximity to the starting point of the production process, the cashmere goats . Driven by nomads, they move through the vast land of the Central Asian high mountain region.

Climatic conditions

When the snow on the barren mountain slopes thaws in spring, the cashmere goats begin the natural transition from winter to summer fur. During this period, usually from the end of April each year, the animals automatically lose their hair. It is the sign for the nomads that combing can begin by hand.

For the extraction of the cashmere fluff, it is particularly important to adhere to the exact time frame. Because the warmer the temperatures and the longer you wait to comb them out, the more likely it is that the goats will shed their wintry duvet hair naturally. It would be carried away by the wind or get caught on surrounding bushes.

Harvesting too early would mean that the goats lack natural protection from the cold and freeze to death in the icy nights. The same applies to the question of why the goats' hair is combed out and not shaved. This avoids the mixing of undercoat and top coat and at the same time protects against the weather.

Long Journey into Style: From the goat to the cashmere sweater

The harvest

When harvesting the cashmere, the shepherds clamp the respective goats between their legs, which they tie together with a rope if necessary. Then they hold the goats by the horns and comb through all of the fur with a coarse comb to remove hay and dust. Then, using the tines of an iron comb about 15 centimeters wide, they pick out the fluffy underhairs, separate them neatly from the coarse guard hairs and prepare them for packing in large jute bags. A process that requires special care to guarantee the best possible yield.

The yield is not very high: it averages around 180 grams per goat per year. Goats between the ages of two and ten are best suited for harvesting. Due to their physical size, billy goats give around ten to 15 percent more down than goats. In this state, the cashmere yield feels a little felty, but already wonderfully fluffy. From now on, the hair, most of which has had its awns removed, is referred to as crude fibre.

Long Journey into Style: From the goat to the cashmere sweater

selection and purification

The sacks, pressed into bales, are transported by truck to the collection points in the valleys of Xinjiang. In the case of Allude, straight to ÜrÜmqi, where they are sighted and classified by traders and producers. Before every purchase, however, there is a first test and extensive quality control of the cashmere fibers in a laboratory. Here the length, diameter, purity and color scale are determined and it is determined whether the delivery meets the requirements. Individual random sampling is also intended to ensure that no foreign hair or types of wool have been mixed in.

If the goods are awarded the contract, they are first spread out over large areas in warehouses and subjected to rough sorting manually. Then the actual cleaning and sorting of the cashmere fleece begins. By hand, the greasy cashmere is freed from coarse foreign bodies and impurities such as pieces of wood, stones and plant and grass residues, dirt is also filtered out and sorted by color.

The sorted material is then transported via long tubes to a washing line, where it is washed, combed, loosened and disinfected up to three times by machine. During this process, the fibers are cleaned of dust and grease, and skin flakes and the finest vegetable residue are filtered out. The typical goat smell disappears completely.

Although the cashmere raw material is washed automatically, an optimal cleaning process requires a very high level of experience. Finally, the improper interaction of water and exercise would cause the delicate fibers to become matted. It is important to use water that is as soft as possible without calcium and magnesium salts and wash with a gentle detergent at no more than 45 degrees Celsius. After the cashmere material has been rinsed well in large tanks, it is dried in blowing machines.

Long Journey into Style: From the goat to the cashmere sweater

Comb and color

Before dyeing or spinning, the raw material is carded after drying. During this process, the heavy guard hair is separated from the light downy hair by means of repeated combing processes. If there are still around 50 to 60 percent of top hair in the material at the beginning of the process, the proportion is less than one percent afterwards. The cashmere tufts are divided into small flakes and caught by scratches, which they carefully pull apart, stretch, parallelize and comb out several times.

Now the last dirt particles fall out, this is where the actual cashmere separates, this is where a veil-like pile forms. This cloud-like, now completely cleaned mass flows out of the machine as fine as fog and forms a carpet band. At this point in the production process, the material has lost about a quarter of its original weight. The awned - dehaired - cashmere now resembles gauze and is the starting point for yarn production.

But first the cashmere has to be dyed. For this purpose, it is brought into various dyeing kettles via rollers. A special color mixture is determined for each individual shade using computer analysis. In order to check to what extent the fleece takes on the respective color, sample dyeing is necessary. The mixing ratio of colored and uncolored fibers is calculated from this.

Depending on the color recipe, the dye solutions are now automatically supplied and colored the mass. In the drying room, the paint can dry and unfold its luminosity. The colored flake is then separated into individual webs, formed into a uniform fleece, stretched into slivers and mixed according to the desired shade. Later it is untwisted into loose threads.

Long Journey into Style: From the goat to the cashmere sweater

From yarn to knitting

However, this fine roving can still tear quickly and cannot withstand any stress. This changes with spinning, in which the fibers of the roving are twisted together under tension using a rotating spindle. The result is a long, fine thread that is now twisted or spun into knitting yarn in different qualities in the desired strength and with the appropriate tensile strength. Two or more threads are twisted together. Depending on the number of threads, the thread is called single, two-threaded and so on - English: one ply, two ply etc. The yarn spun in this way comes into the transfer, is wound onto bobbins and is now ready for the knitting process.

Depending on which design is to be knitted, which patterns are to be used and which special features and finishes the Allude collection is equipped with, the decision is made in favor of semi-automatic or fully automatic computer knitting or knitting by hand. Once the pattern has been defined in the program, the centimeter information in the measurement charts has been translated into stitch information and the specifications for the silhouettes have been converted into a form that can be knitted, the actual knitting process can begin. After quality control, ironing, attaching the label and the care label, the collection parts are packed and prepared for shipping.

Further information on the history, processing and care of cashmere as well as the success story of the Allude brand, including many beautiful color photos, can be found in our book " Cashmere ", which has been published by Callwey Verlag. Available in bookstores - and in our online shop . Also read an interview with co-author Berit Grosswendt .