Friday, August 23, 2013

just say no: cashmere

Recent reports of the environmental impact of increasing goat herds on wildlife due to over grazing and and diminishing ecosystems that sustain such wonderful creatures as snow leopards certainly cause ecomodista to consider other fibers. In 2006 the consequences of cashmere were reported by treehugger. Goats producing cashmere have devastated grasslands from over grazing, turning complex ecosystems into desert.

More recently, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Snow Leopard Trust conducted a study documenting ever increasing sizes of goat herds' impact. In Mongolia alone in 1990 five (5) million heads expanded due to the demands of fashion to 14 million goats. see:http://www.snowleopard.org/victims-of-fashion

Given that lambs wool, wool grown on the Faroe Islands (think Gudrun og Gudrun when they were still indy), and mohairs are equally soft, or alpaca mixed with silk. Designers and knitters do have alternatives, and for ecomodsta's part, she will henceforward eschew cashmere unless it is recycled.

Hopefully lux design wear will acknowledge this premise, Belstaff as usual has gorgeous knits in the A/W 2013 collection, but where does this leave some Scottish knitwear companies? Over 3,000 tons of cashmere are collected annually. One suggestion has been to raise goats in barns, but by their very nature, they browse and wander, so is this the ethical response? Fiber2Fashion reports consumers ethical concerns are forcing companies to reëxamine their "backstory." 

The Autumn/Winter 2013 collections seem to have less emphasis on knitwear, except for designers who arise from this discipline. As always, Rodarte has wonderfully inventive knits, this collection inspired by Santa Cruz boardwalk.

the real Rodarte A/W2013 see style.com not cashmere but alpaca fiber


Check out this DYI rodarte, believe me after seeing the Vogue US cover with their VLA (very large knitstitch) mohair dress in 2008 (could be incorrect date) I was certainly tempted to get out the no.17 needles and get to work.