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Recycled Cashmere…does it matter?


Prato, Italy

This time last week I was in Prato, Italy with the team putting Spring Summer 18 into work with our suppliers and there was one in particular I wanted to visit.

This season two of our knitwear styles come from a factory which specialise in recycling cashmere which the team were very enthusiastic about when we selected the garments some months ago. Without doubt it was a fascinating story internally but the question we had to ask ourselves, does this matter to our customers? To best answer that I felt it was important to improve my own understanding of the process.

So we went to visit the charming Eduardo Mariotti who very generously showed me around every nook and cranny of his amazing production unit and explained the process step by step with complete transparency, allowing me take lots of photographs along the way.

Eduardo founded his family run (we met his wife and his brother) business in 1990 after many years of experience gained in the wool, cashmere and mohair industry and he has used this expertise to create a textile raw material processing company, specialising in the production of recycled cashmere.

 


 

 Unsurprisingly it all starts with huge blue bales of pure cashmere knitwear which come from all over the world, mainly from the US and a lot from the UK, as you can see there were hundreds of them in each bale, all labelled cashmere and in various states of repair. 

 


 

 The first thing to happen is all labels must be removed, these all end up in a huge pile, it was amazing to see some very familiar names amongst them.

All trims are also removed from the garments e.g. plackets and collars because sometimes they are attached using non-cashmere yarns so cannot be guaranteed to be pure cashmere. All of the trims are then made up into bales of their own, each one weighing about 70kg.

 


 

 Once this has been done the garments get sorted by colour, see pink, blue and funnily enough lots of black!

 


 

 Here are the grey items going into the shredder to be broken down, this process takes the yarn almost back to its raw state.


 

 This is then blended with new virgin cashmere which arrives to the factory in hessian bales.


 

 This combined blend of fibres is then taken to the spinner to be spun into cashmere yarn and arrives back at the factory in big spools ready to be knitted in to beautiful garments such as the Recycled Cashmere Kimono’s in Oatmeal or Charcoal

 

The Recycled Cashmere Kimonos


 

Just as we were about to leave Eduardo insisted I take a copy of his Cardato Recycled Certificate which had just been issued from the Prato Chamber of Commerce which confirms he has been accredited for the work he is doing with Eco Cashmere.

The whole production process is analysed to measure its impact on the environment in terms of water, energy and CO2 and it is proven that the impact on CO2 for the recycled garment is a fraction of the impact of a pure cashmere garment.

I came away feeling you have to applaud Eduardo and his foresight in looking at alternative ways to produce beautiful garments whilst doing everything he can to protect the environment.

So in answer to the question does it matter? Well I happen to think it does, as someone who has always recycled clothes I would love to think that some of them have ended up in one of Eduardo’s big blue bales!

Let me know if it matters to you, I’d love to know your thoughts,

Hope you have a chilled weekend, as for me I’ll be watching a lot of hockey as usual!!

nayna-signature-gold

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12 thoughts on “Recycled Cashmere…does it matter?”

  • But when is it washed?! Does it arrive clean? Not clear from article. That is my only concern.

    Reply
    • Hi Jane, great question! The yarn is washed, rinsed and dried thoroughly as part of the dyeing process and then wound onto spools to be knitted. I hope this answers your query and thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog, Nayna X

      Reply
  • I think it's a wonderful idea. Clever, thoughtful and overall really excellent!

    Reply
  • I love my cashmere, and if it looks like cashmere, feels like cashmere, and has cashmere, it's brilliant, recycled or otherwise.
    For years I worked in Charity shop retail, we used to have rag a lot of garments that came through as donations, we always kept the old cashmere separate from the general rags, so it could be recycled back into something beautiful,
    I applaud you from buying from this inspiring factory and producer. Bravo

    Cashmere is like a big warm hug

    love Di xx

    Reply
    • Thank you Di, I agree cashmere is like a big warm hug, it's good to know our cashmere jumpers can keep on hugging long after we're done with them! Nayna X

      Reply
  • I very much think it matters! I have been trying very hard to only purchase clothing from now on that takes the environment and ethics into consideration. Have happily found Hope. I only wish you weren’t so far away. I live in the States.

    Reply
    • Morning Jennifer, delighted the recycled cashmere blog resonated with you and indeed that you have happily found Hope. I know you are aware we ship to the US but just wondered if you are near any Von Maur stores as we have recently launched an edit of the collection in some of their stores? Please let me know, Nayna X

      Reply
      • Alas, no, I live in Massachusetts and we don’t have those stores. However, I think it’s great you have launched in the U.S.! Best of luck with the venture!

        Reply
  • Where can you give your old cashmere to be recycled? (in the USA)

    Reply
    • Hello Margie, I have to say I'm not entirely sure and having put 'where to recycle cashmere in the US' into my search engine I am none the wiser! I will speak to Eduardo the factory owner and see if he can help. Will get back to you, Nayna X

      Reply
  • What an interesting article Nayna. I had read previously that you were using recycled cashmere but wondered what that meant. I mean we all know what recycled is - but can we trust anything we read these days to be what we think/it aught to be?! But now I know that when you said recycled - you really meant recycled and it is wonderful. Learning about the process was really interesting and I love the idea that you have made even more beautiful Hope clothing lines using such eco friendly and beautiful fabric and absolutely doing your bit for the planet. Well done you.

    Reply
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