Our garments that are made in a cashmere cotton blend are designed to combine the best of both worlds: the breathable, resilient, moisture-absorbing qualities of cotton, along with the luxurious softness of none other than the highest quality Scottish cashmere, making it perfect for warmer weather, or when you are expecting to be more active.
Cotton: the Popular Sporting Fibre
Cotton, a very popular fibre during the warmer months, is a great natural material. It’s durable, hard-wearing, moisture-wicking and comfortable. It is the world’s second most used fibre for apparel and there is good reason why. For the longest time it was the world’s most ubiquitous fibre for clothes, and its popularity is enhanced by its accessibility both in terms of sourcing and price.
It is not difficult to see why a lot of the historic garments that we take inspiration from for our designs are traditionally made in 100% cotton - the college sweatshirt, the henley shirt, Breton Stripe sweater, even polo shirts used for tennis. A lot of sporting pursuits have relied heavily on cotton for their garments, precisely because of its resilient qualities and ability to keep the wearer feeling comfortable and not overheated. Compared to synthetic fibres that have become the dominant fibre for sportswear nowadays, cotton still remains the superior fabric of choice when it comes to moisture-wicking and odour free high performance sporting apparel.
Left: French navy in training, c. 1930s
Right: Legendary British rower Jack Beresford in this signature henley shirt, c. 1920s
It has of course become more expensive over the years, certainly compared to manmade materials, and that is in part the reason it has been deposed and is now only the second most used fibre.
However, whilst an incredibly functional material, cotton lacks that touch of luxury, that buttery softness and lightweighted hand feel that you would find in more noble fibres.
Cashmere Cotton: the Luxury Sportswear Fabric
The question we asked ourselves was, how do you retain the sporty resilience of cotton, but inject some luxury into the fabric so as to create something far superior in terms of hand feel and comfort, but is still able to be worn as part of an active outfit?
The answer we came up with was cashmere cotton. Whilst this blend is not new, most cashmere cotton blends you will see nowadays is predominantly cotton with only a small amount of cashmere (for example 95% cotton, 5% cashmere). This in our view not enough for the luxury qualities of the cashmere to shine through.
On the other hand, if we were to tip the balance and use predominantly cashmere in the blend and only a small amount of cotton, it wouldn’t have as much of the shape-keeping and “bouncy” resilience of cotton.
We therefore decided on the use of a 47% cashmere with 53% cotton blend for the styles in our range of knitwear that are traditionally “activewear” - the collegiate sweatshirt (first worn as a football jersey) and the Breton Stripe sweater (worn by the French navy). The almost 50/50 mix of the two fibres ensures that there is a balance between the two qualities. The slightly dominant cotton composition makes the knit more of an essentially sporty, casual piece, so that it is a true departure from our 100% cashmere pieces which are smarter and more formal.
The design of the pieces themselves are also consistent with this - for example, our collegiate sweatshirt is made with raglan shoulders and wider ribbed hem and cuffs for a more sport look; our breton stripe sweater is in keeping with the original - so slightly wider boat neck and no ribbing at the hem and cuffs.
Our cashmere cotton breton stripe sweater is designed with a slightly wide boat neck, and straight finishing at the cuff and hem (rather than ribbed) in keeping with the original design of the bretons tripe sweater
Left: Raglan shoulder construction, as signified by the diagonal seam across the shoulder. Dotted lines either side denote that the garment is fully-fashioned - a time-consuming heritage knitting technique that ensures the seams follow the contours of the body
Right: wider ribbed cuffs and ribbed hem on our cashmere cotton collegiate sweatshirt, in keeping with the original
At the same time, the almost 50% cashmere in the blend ensures that it has a high enough dose of luxury, making the pieces we create with this yarn truly unique and distinctly more comfortable to wear against the skin compared to their 100% cotton cousins.
We believe therefore, that the 49% cashmere / 53% cotton blend achieves the perfect balance for these sportier pieces.
Conversely, if it was flipped the other way round, and we had over 50% cashmere, there is a risk that the garment could make the wearer a bit hot when active. Cotton, as the slightly more dominant fibre, ensures that the sweater is airy and breezy; it will certainly feel breezier and lighter than our 100% cashmere and superfine lambswool offering.
Our cashmere cotton garments achieve the perfect combination of the luxurious softness and heft of Scottish cashmere, with the sporty resilience and breathability of long staple cotton
Cashmere Cotton: The Highest Quality
The further help our cause, the quality of the cashmere and cotton we use are both the world’s highest - so that the resulting garment is a truly superior piece of clothing.
The fibre diameter of our cashmere fibres is c. 15.5 microns and length is c. 38mm, making the fibre the world's finest and longest, which means the softest and most durable.
The cotton used is a high quality long staple Egyptian cotton with a superior hand feel and durability. The cotton fibre is measured in micronaire which is the measurement of micrograms per inch. For our cotton, the micronaire is 4.0 with a length of 35mm.
The cashmere cotton yarn is a 3-ply yarn, produced by revered Scottish yarn mill Todd & Duncan with 150 years of yarn spinning experience. They are regarded as one of the top producers of fine yarns and have held this reputation for many years.
Tight Tension Knitting: the Perfect Technique for Luxury Sportswear
The garments are then knitted in Hawick, Scotland - the home of expert knitters. The town is renowned for its knitting industry which began in the 1700s. The knitters we work with are experts in their craft with unrivalled knowledge and experience in the production of knitwear. They knit using traditional techniques such as knitting with a tight tension, that are known to produce the very best quality knitwear, giving them longevity as well as the luxury touch.
This is the perfect technique to use on what luxury sportswear because you’d want garments that have a substantial, rather than flimsy hand feel, and there are no better producer to achieve this than Scottish knitters.
The heritage technique of knitting with a tight tension ensures that plenty of yarn is packed into the garment, like the way they used to be made, ensuring that the garment lasts a long time and will age beautifully
The superior fibres, produced into yarn in the hands of the world’s finest spinner, then knitted by the world’s finest knitters ensure that garments are the world’s very finest of their kind. This means that like all of our knitwear, our cashmere cotton garments will soften and age beautifully with each wear, and last decades, just like the tough as nails collegiate sweatshirts and Breton Stripe sweaters of old.
View our cashmere cotton collection here.