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The Cachet of Cashmere

Posted 01.10.17  - Craft

Turnbull & Asser's continued dedication to using the finest craftsmanship, and its commitment to producing its wares in Britain, has taken it north of the border when it comes to knitwear. Centuries of experience and expertise have made Scotland the home of cashmere, with unquestionably the finest being made by John Laing, the maker of Turnbull & Asser’s new range of jumpers and accessories.

Founded in 1831, John Laing - based in the epicentre of cashmere country, Hawick – is the oldest cashmere-knitwear manufacturer in the world. Every single element of Laing's product is Scottish spun and made. Using skills handed down from generation to generation, each jumper passes through 30 pairs of expert hands and is subject to no fewer than 30 different processes, from knitting, seaming and bartacking to washing, milling and pressing, before the finished garment is ready. Each of these operations require years of training and keen hand-eye co-ordination.

Founded in 1831, John Laing - based in the epicentre of cashmere country, Hawick – is the oldest cashmere-knitwear manufacturer in the world.

Of course, the best cashmere starts with the best raw material. The fibres originate from goats in northern China and on the plateaux of Mongolia - the region's cold climate encourages the growth of soft underbelly hair. This is combed - never clipped - before being painstakingly hand-sorted into different grades. In order to create a truly luxury-quality fabric, only the finest and longest fibres can be used, so it takes the hair of four goats to make one Turnbull & Asser jumper. During the spinning process, a light oil is added to the yarn to help reduce friction as it goes through the numerous knitting and make-up operations. The delicate yarn forms a tight uniform stitch, giving a wonderful fabric that won't lose its shape or size when washed.

Turnbull & Asser prides itself on its British workmanship and quality. For items that the company doesn’t make itself, it calls upon the expertise of others, actively supporting home-grown companies. In 2012 Chanel bought the parent company of John Laing, Barrie Knitwear. It was Chanel’s first purchase outside of France, and a testament to the well-earned international regard of Barrie and John Laing.

For this season, the collaboration has resulted in five styles of jumper: a classic one-ply V-neck and crew-neck in a rainbow of shades, an exclusive cable-knit in deep red and sky blue and, for those especially cold days, the luxurious four-ply Sixties-style Ivydene shawl-collar jacket in navy with two front pockets. As for accessories, there are luxurious, two-ply ribbed scarves, beanie hats and gloves in those deep, rich colours you get only with the finest Scottish cashmere. As we move into autumn and the prospect of grey days, how wonderful to indulge in handsomely coloured and luxuriously warm knitwear to stave off chill winds while staying well dressed.

Marcus Jaye - Blogger at Chic Geek

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