The backbone of any high quality knitwear is the quality of the raw fibres. There is a lot of knitwear today that contains a blend of natural and synthetic fibres (such as acrylic, nylon, polyester), however, 100% natural fibres are always far better for the skin, not to mention better for the environment. Natural fibres are also more breathable and wear better over time.
It goes without saying, that we only use 100% natural lambswool and cashmere for our garments, which are bio-degradable. However, even in the world of natural fibres, there is a hierarchy in quality and this has an impact on the softness and durability of the final garment.
All of the fibres used to make our garments are widely accepted in the industry as the highest quality. This is because they are carefully sourced by world-renowned yarn spinners, Todd & Duncan, who hold themselves to the highest standards of quality control well beyond industry norms. It is for this reason that many of the world’s luxury brands rely on Todd & Duncan to source, process and manufacture the yarns that make up their garments.
The fibres used by Todd & Duncan are triple-tested; a rare and self-imposed requirement by Todd & Duncan; to ensure that only the highest quality fibres that have passed rigorous tests make it into Todd & Duncan’s yarn collections.
When the fibres are first collected, they are tested at source for their quality - in particular, the fineness and length of the fibres (key determinants of quality as explained further below). The fibres that have passed this initial test are gathered at testing facilities in Hong Kong, where they are tested a second time. Only the fibres that pass these two initial tests are put on boats to Scotland. They are then tested for a third time when they arrive at Todd & Duncan’s facilities at their Loch Leven Mill in Kinross to the narrowest margin of tolerance and any fibres that do not make the cut are sifted out.
Cashmere - the fibre of kings
Cashmere is an exceptional, rare fibre, and the best of its kind is even rarer. It is lightweight, remarkably soft to the touch yet somehow manages to be just as warm, if not warmer, than the thickest, chunkiest of lambswool sweaters. It is for this reason that cashmere has earned itself the name “the fibre of kings”. It is found in the soft undercoat on the belly of a mountain-dwelling breed of Asian goat that has adapted to the extreme temperatures of the Gobi Desert. Only a tiny amount of cashmere is yielded. Its exceptional qualities and its rarity make it an extremely sought after fibre.
However, not all cashmere is created equal. There are many different grades of cashmere, ranging from the coarsest and shortest to the finest and longest. This has a great impact on the resulting quality of the final garment.
Our cashmere is made using Todd & Duncan’s celebrated cashmere fine yarns collection which uses the world’s highest quality cashmere fibres sourced from inner Mongolia. On average, the fibres are 15.5 microns in diameter and 38mm in length. This makes the fibres some of the finest and longest in the world, meaning they are the softest yet most durable. The finer the fibre, the softer the cashmere feels. The longer the fibre, the more durable the resulting yarns will be when it is spun.
There are many cashmere garments on the market today which may feel very soft given the fineness of the hairs used but because the fibres are short, they are susceptible to small breakages over time, becoming entangled and flying up, a phenomenon known as “pilling”. Conversely, fibres that are long may be more durable but these fibres could also be thicker resulting in a fibre that feels “scratchy”.
Cashmere from Todd & Duncan is world renowned in part because they are committed to securing cashmere fibres that have the best of both worlds - the finest and the longest, to ensure that you enjoy the softness of cashmere while being able to wear it for a longer period of time.
Superfine Lambswool - soft touch, hard-wearing
Our superfine lambswool garments are made using Todd & Duncan’s prestigious Lamaine superfine lambswool collection. This is no ordinary lambswool.
When one mentions “lambswool”, it may bring to mind the rough, coarse jumpers worn by the navy that may be warm and sturdy, but not the most comfortable.
Superfine lambswool from Todd & Duncan’s Lamaine collection has been especially cultivated to be the softest of all lambswool varieties in the world, with an average diameter of 18.5 microns (most lambswool averages between 21 - 24 microns). The fibre is about 42 mm long which helps the garment retain shape.
This fibre is therefore unique in that whilst it possesses the same hardy qualities of ordinary lambswool - warmth, moisture-wicking and breathable properties and resilience, it is also the softest, so you will not have to put up with the same scratchiness associated with coarser lambswool jumpers.
Using the most premium fibre forms the foundation of the quality of our garments, but it is the combination with our yarn spinners' and knitwear manufacturer's expertise that makes our knitwear some of the best in the world.