The fascinating journey of the most precious noble fibres of the world
Lanificio Colombo is the top world producer of cashmere and noble fibres. The entire manufacturing process takes place in its Italian plant, at the foot of the Piedmont Alps. Here the raw fibres, accurately selected in their country of origins, are finally processed and transformed into precious fabrics and into exquisite mens, womens and accessory collections too.
Cashmere certainly is the most popular and valued noble fibre. Yet, the varied textile world actually offers many other precious fibres of extraordinary fineness, softness and thermal properties that make them extremely enjoyable to wear.
The fascinating journey of these exquisite materials begins in their country of origin, where the animals with their prized coats live. Once the fibres arrive in Italy, the entire manufacturing process gets underway in the plant located in Borgosesia, where the spinning, weaving and tailoring processes take place.
Cashmere is obtained from the coat of Hircus goats, a breed that Asian inhabitants have raised for the last 7500 years in the wildest mountainous areas of Himalaya, in Tibet and Mongolia. Under the longer outer coating of the goat there is a softer, precious and extremely warm undercoat, called duvet. This valuable hair allows the animal to keep his temperature constant in the extreme cold conditions of the Asian mountains. The so-called duvet is collected in June by combing the animals hair. Every goat provides just a few hectograms of fibres per year, with an average diameter of about 15 micron.
However, Yangir cashmere is obtained from a specific breed that lives up to 7500 metres in the Altay mountains in Mongolia and in the wild plateaus of Kazakhstan e del Kyrgyzstan. The naturally golden-coloured undercoat is particularly soft and shiny and even finest than the traditional cashmere as it can range up to 13,5 micron.
There is also another big family of animals that can provide extremely fine and precious fibres: the Camelids.
Among them, the most prestigious breed is Vicuña: an extraordinary wild animal that lives in the American cordillera, in Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. Vicuña is a protected animal, defended by Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna), that is a 1973 international agreement signed by many governments in Washington and aimed at regulating the trade of endangered plants and animals. In ancient times Vicuña was considered a gift from Inti, the benevolent god of Sun that melted the snow to make the streams flow and water the lands. It was so treasured that only the royal family could wear Vicuña garments. The Vicuña is actually the finest and rarest fibre in the world: the clipping can be done once every two year and an adult animal can provide only 250 grams of fiber with an average fineness of 12,5-13 micron.
Lastly, the Camel: a noble fibre, recently back in vogue thanks to its very interesting features, like the superbly soft undercoat, the special thermal properties and the 18 micron fineness. There are two main subspecies of Camel: the dromedary, that has just one hump, and the "proper" camel, or camelus bactrianus, with two humps, that also lives in the gelid Mongolia and China mountains and offers the most exquisite fibres indeed.