A new Scottish business is doing its part to tackle the horror of moths with a luxury revolution in caring for cashmere clothing.
The timeless beauty of cashmere clothing has always been the opposite of today’s fast-fashion world, an investment to be cherished and worn year after year.
But not if it is stained or falls victim to this season’s biggest hazard – holes from the freshly laid larvae of moths. A female adult moth can lay up to 300 eggs from spring to autumn.
Far too often, a beautiful, much-loved luxury garment, which is packed away in Spring, can emerge months later moth-eaten to end up unworn and, worse, discarded forever.
Tackling this, an innovative collective of cashmere designers – including cashmere ‘queen’ Belinda Robertson – textile specialists and sustainability experts has come together as Cashmere Circle, with the aim of saving and breathing new life into the nation’s cashmere collection.
The company was founded by young Scottish entrepreneur Ross Powell, aged 24, who became increasingly aware of the global environmental crisis while studying sustainable development and environment policy at Edinburgh University. A collaboration with acclaimed cashmere designer Belinda, founder of the Belinda Robertson cashmere label and a pioneer of cashmere sustainability, opened his eyes to the damage being done by the fashion sector.
Using artisan techniques based on traditional time-honoured craftsmanship and skills, the team at Cashmere Circle can invisibly mend holes, remove stains and ultimately revive the natural yarns to return cashmere to its luxurious best with a variety of services. The most popular is the specialist laundry service, pioneering garment washing and de-pilling with a full steam that removes odours and impurities that return the fibre back to like-new condition, and the full Revive and Repair.
Any garments that cannot be repaired will be lovingly recycled through Cashmere Circle’s Life After Love recycling programme, so that the 100% natural fibres are kept out of landfill. Donated cashmere is re-imagined and upcycled in exciting and creative ways – jumpers can become cute hats, cosy neck warmers, gloves and even adorable baby booties!
Through its ‘Forests for Fashion’ initiative, Cashmere Circle plants a tree for every garment donated for recycling, providing a double environmental win. And donating has never been easier, thanks to a door to door collection service.
Ross, Cashmere Circle CEO, said: ‘Fashion is in the midst of a makeover. As an industry, it is the second largest polluter behind oil and gas. Thanks to fast fashion it’s estimated around half of all items produced are disposed of in under a year.
‘But cared for appropriately, quality cashmere will retain its form for generations, getting softer the more it is used. We need to be embracing garments that stand the test of time and cashmere is the perfect fibre for this. As cashmere and luxury knitwear experts, we want to share our knowledge to help people love their cashmere for longer.’
The polar opposite to throwaway fast fashion, Cashmere Circle helps to extends the life of a luxury knit that is simply too valuable not to wear. The benefits are two-fold: not only is a beautiful item revived to be worn again and again, repairing a cashmere garment rather than buying new will save 0.7 tonnes of C02 emissions – that’s the equivalent individual emissions of a return flight to Dubai.
The affordability of repairing rips, worn places or moth holes means a cashmere investment can deliver even more value for money.
Ross added: ‘Cashmere and natural fibres like wool must be embraced if we want to move away from fast fashion, synthetic fibres and crazy over-consumption. Biodegradable, softer with wear and able to retain their shape and look for years if cared for and stored properly, cashmere is the perfect fibre for a sustainable wardrobe. At Cashmere Circle, we’re intent on having the biggest positive social and environmental impact possible.
‘For us, that means passing on skills to the next generations, prioritising natural fibres, extending the garment life cycle, closing the loop on production and planting thousands of trees while we’re at it!’
Cashmere Circle’s Garment Repair service experts are based in the Scottish Borders – an area world-renowned for its cashmere production. It uses 100% recycled materials in its packaging and donates 1% of revenue to support re-wilding the Scottish Highlands. However, the service is available across the UK.
Cashmere Circle is offering the following tips to keeping cashmere safe:
- Always keep cashmere garments inside out.
- Store them in a moth-proof bag (Cashmere Circle’s are made from recycled plastic bottles).
- Keep the storage area free of dirt, dust and anything which might attract insects.
- Store cashmere flat as hanging can distort the shape.
- Give a cashmere garment a couple of days’ rest between wears to prolong its life.
To find out more about how Cashmere Circle, visit https://www.cashmere-circle.co.uk. The specialist cashmere laundry service starts from £35 with the full repair and revive service from £45.