A ctually, it's still a little early... in the year to start thinking about Christmas presents. But we would like to recommend something very special to you and the cashmere fans in your life: On November 2nd, Callwey will be publishing " Cashmere ", the first book about the history of this luxurious material in a beautiful print edition with 300 color photos.
The volume was written by Allude Creative Director and cashmerista Andrea Karg and author Berit Grosswendt, who immersed themselves intensively in the past and present of this unique raw material. They also tell the success story of the Allude fashion brand in all its fascinating and inspiring details. A must for lovers of modern cashmere fashion and a best case for (young) entrepreneurs.
As an exclusive goodie for our loyal fans, we interviewed co-author Berit Grosswendt for our online magazine. She studied German and worked in leading positions at "InStyle" for ten years. Today she is a freelance author, specializing in designer portraits as well as fashion and lifestyle topics, for magazines such as "Elle" and the shopping platform Stylebop.com, among others. She also works as a brand consultant and style coach.
Berit Grosswendt tells us more about the extensive research for the book and which cashmere facts particularly surprised her. Have fun – and make a note of “Cashmere” (published by Callwey Verlag) on your wish list!
Can you still remember your first cashmere item?
I bought my first real cashmere sweater with my first salary after graduation. In fact, it was from Allude: a light gray cable-knit turtleneck; a classic that I still love to wear today because it's super snuggly and still looks new after all these years. At the time it was a revelation for me.
Sounds like a cliché, but it's really like that: Since then, it's had to be cashmere. This gray cashmere jumper was the beginning of my passion for gray cashmere jumpers and for cashmere in general. I never leave the house without a light cashmere shawl or scarf, I have cashmere with me everywhere, even on summer vacation.
How did the book project with Andrea Karg begin?
Andrea Karg had had the idea for a long time and wanted to start implementing it. She knew me as a cashmere-loving fashion author – so one thing led to another.
What is the goal of this first German volume about the unique material cashmere and the success story of the Allude brand?
We want to show the uniqueness of cashmere and its special history: Where does cashmere come from? What historical development did the material take? How is the raw material obtained? Where do the goats live? Why is cashmere so precious? It is intended to be a kind of reference work that explains how cashmere comes from the goat to the human being, i.e. how a finished pullover is created from the delicate down underneath on the body of the cashmere goat. It also provides wonderful images.
It is also about Allude's incredible success story as an international company and cashmere specialist and about Andrea Karg's passion for this valuable material. It was also important to her to clear up some prejudices, for example when it comes to the topic of care. Very few people know that cashmere is so robust and resilient despite its softness and that cashmere sweaters are best washed in the washing machine - and that they become even nicer and softer after each wash.
What were the particular challenges during the research?
It is the first book ever that deals with cashmere in this way. Accordingly, we had to start our research from scratch. For example, cashmere goats hardly appear in international statistics; it was difficult to get solid facts and figures.
Which findings particularly surprised you?
I didn't know that cashmere scarves were very modern at the beginning of the 19th century. What was also new to me was that even then, attempts were being made to settle cashmere goats outside of their natural habitat and to harvest the valuable down – which, by the way, has still not succeeded to this day. Because the real, pure cashmere duvet is only made under the adverse conditions in the Central Asian plateaus with severe winters with temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees.
How did the collaboration with Andrea Karg go – and what impulses did she give you?
Andrea Karg is a constant source of ideas, incredibly creative and artistic in her work, and incredibly warm and open-minded. She manages to motivate her team to achieve top performance. Her passion and willingness to experiment can be felt at every moment. She gave me access to all the information I needed for this project.
Which facets of Cashmere history and also of Allude would you still like to explore if there were a sequel, a part 2?
First of all, I would fly to China and see where and how the goats live there. Exploring old trade routes and historic craft workshops would also be exciting.
Finally, please tell us your absolute favorite piece from the Allude Autumn/Winter 2015/2016 collection.
The layered look of a light blue kaftan dress and knitted leggings with ribbed cuffs underneath.