Cashmere is one of the most luxurious and coveted fabrics in the world. It is soft, warm, lightweight and durable. But it is also expensive and often counterfeited. How can you tell if the cashmere sweater or scarf you are buying is the real deal or a cheap imitation? Here are some tips from the professional to help you spot fake cashmere and buy the genuine article.
Check the Label
The label should indicate the percentage of cashmere in the product, the country of origin and the care instructions. If the label is missing, vague or suspicious, it might be a sign of a fake. Look for labels that say '100%cashmere' or 'pure cashmere' and avoid products that contain other fibers such as acrylic, nylon or wool. Also, look for reputable brands and retailers that have a good reputation for quality and authenticity.
Feel the Texture
Cashmere is known for its softness and smoothness. It should feel silky and gentle on your skin, not rough or scratchy. Fake cashmere often feel coarse, stiff or synthetic. You can also rub the fabric between your fingers and see if it generates any static electricity. Real cashmere produce very little static, while fake cashmere does a lot.
Examine the Weave
Cashmere is usually woven with a tight and even knit that gives it a uniform appearance and prevents it from stretching or pilling. Fake cashmere often has a loose or uneven weave that makes it look sloppy and prone to damage. You can also check the seams and edges of the product for any signs of poor craftsmanship or fraying.
Do the Burn Test
This is a more extreme way to test the authenticity of cashmere, but it can be very effective if you have doubts. Cut off a small piece of the fabric from an inconspicuous area and burn it with a lighter or match. Real cashmere will burn slowly and smell like burnt hair, while fake cashmere will melt quickly and smell like plastic.
Compare the Price
Cashmere is an expensive fabric because it is rare and labor-intensive to produce. It comes from the fine undercoat of certain breeds of goats that live in cold regions such as Mongolia, China and Iran. The fibers are collected by hand-combing or shearing the goats once a year, then sorted, cleaned, spun and dyed. It takes about four goats to produce enough cashmere for one sweater. Therefore, if you see a cashmere product that is very cheap, it is probably too good to be true.
Cashmere is a wonderful fabric that can last for years if you take good care of it. It is worth investing in quality pieces that will keep you warm and stylish. By following these tips, you can avoid buying fake cashmere and enjoy the real deal.