Virgin cashmere is a wool obtained from cashmere goats typically raised in the Mongolian grasslands. As a fiber, it’s fine and soft and provides approximately three times the insulation than that of sheep’s wool. Cashmere is a high quality material and an accessible luxury material mass produced for coats, dresses and luxury knitwear.
Stella McCartney sees a sustainability problem with Mongolia’s cashmere goats. The demand has led to an overpopulation and their voracious grazing is changing the natural landscape causing desertification where grasslands were once rich.
In order to tackle the issue Stella McCartney is partnering with the Sustainable Fibre Alliance and Wildlife Conservation Society to support grassland protection in Mongolia. And the designer has begun replacing virgin yarn with a type of regenerated fibre called Re.Verso.
Re.Verso™ is a new textile platform made in three top Italian mills, Nuova Fratelli Boretti, Green Line and Lanificio Stelloni, who together produce a fully integrated, textile product, unique in its look and feel, fully traceable throughout its whole supply chain and 100% made in Italy.
The Re.Verso™ byproduct of post-factory waste impacts the environment 92% less than virgin cashmere. Taken as a raw ingredient, it’s converted into fiber through a mechanical process that allows it to be spun into yarn which can be used in the same way as virgin cashmere—knitted or woven into a fully finished garment.
So far it’s the best practice for Eco-responsible cashmere use. Stella is one of the first major fashion houses to employ this new method, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the market reacts.