Entire families in Hawick Scotland have made their living from cashmere for generations. It is a dying art, for knitting in Scotland is much more expensive than performing the same task in lower cost countries. Companies like John Laing have endeavored to move up-market in order to command the prices they need to stay in business. The best of the Scots use only the finest cashmere, and the result is better color, better construction and a hand that is equalled only by one or two Italian labels. The Asian competition will eventually learn, but today it does not even come close.
Cashmere is knitted to fill orders placed a season in advance, so at the MRket menswear show last month Laing was showing products for February, 2013. The items shown are all one-off samples that may never be produced again. Laing resellers choose from a set of available patterns and any of 165 colors.
Spring cashmeres are knitted in brighter colors than those used for autumn, and eight stitches per inch instead of the autumnal twelve produces a garment that is a third lighter. Single ply eight gauge knitwear is still too heavy to wear in the heat of a summer day, but will provide good service in cool spring and late fall. And it is beautiful stuff.
Photos: Rose Callahan
Apologies that updates have been sporadic lately. I usually post in the early morning from home, and my cable/internet supplier has had a number of outages recently, including one that has lasted for two days.