Goat's inner fleece
Mongolia, Inner Mongolia (China), Nepal, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan
Cashmere is probably best known as one most luxurious fibre with special characteristics of fineness, softness and warmth. Cashmere is the extremely fine inner fleece from goats that is stimulated by the freezing cold and high altitude environments where they are reared. The fibres measure eight to ten microns in width, making them around 10 times finer than human hair and eight times warmer than sheep's wool. However, in recent decades as a direct result of fast fashion culture, cashmere has become less of a luxury fibre, and more of a commodity. To meet the demand, herds have grown four times what they were thirty years ago.
In addition, the warming of the earth caused by climate change is producing greater volumes of snow in the regions where goats graze. This has resulted in a significant shortage of food. And even with the increase of snow, the winters are getting warmer, which reduces the need for the goats to grow their cashmere wool in the quality and quantity that many rely on for their livelihoods.
A combination of these factors has resulted in many fashion houses blending cashmere wool with less sustainable raw materials which drives down quality, price and the overarching value of this incredible fibre. Efforts are being made by the Chinese government to improve pastures for grazing in an effort to allow for sustainable practices to continue in the future.
Please research where your cashmere has come from. A general rule of thumb is if its cheap it's probably not sustainable. And if its expensive, make sure you're not being taken for a fast fashion fool.