If you’ve bought a softer-than-clouds cashmere sweater and thought, “Damn, this sure was money well spent,” only to have it frizz out and fall apart within a month, you’re not alone. It’s happened to the best of us.
While it might seem sensible to buy inexpensive cashmere sweaters, investing in high quality versions will not only mean you can wear it for longer, but they also require less care than you might think. But how do you know if you’re getting high quality, and how do you take care of it once it’s yours?
To learn the best tricks of the trade, we turned to Matt Scanlan, the CEO and co-founder of Naadam, an ethically sourced cashmere label. Scanlan’s on-the-job training was about as extreme as you can imagine: he’s a New York City finance guy who quit his job, went on vacation, found himself stuck in the middle of the Mongolian desert for a month with a herd of Kashmir goats, and ended up buying 60 tons of fresh-off-the-goat cashmere that he had to take care of until starting his own brand (and selling some of the excess to brands like Michael Kors and Hugo Boss).
“For us at Naadam, the biggest thing was learning how the material itself works. Because if you don’t know a lot about cashmere, you think it’s just a sweater. But it’s fragile,” Scanlan said. “It was really trying to get an understanding of what the characteristics are of the material itself.”
Below, Scanlan breaks down the basics of cashmere care, and he proves that, while delicate, it isn’t as tricky—or high-maintenance—as you might assume.