There has been lots of talk in recent years about fabrics such as shahtoosh and cashmere which have often been confused as being made from the same animal. Although this couldn’t be more further from the truth, one is actually obtained from the Cashmere goat and the other from an endangered antelope!
So, what is the difference?
Shahtoosh, historically worn by Mughal emperors and royalties is favoured for it’s incredibly soft feel (its name actually means “king of the fine wools”!) and it is known for having the lowest micron (diameter of a thread) therefore making it is the finest fabric known today. Its incredibly fine fabric is used to make the most luxurious of shawls and scarves. Unfortunately, the shahtoosh material is sourced from the Chiru – a Tibetan antelope which are inhumanely killed in order to obtain the shahtoosh fibres as it can take up to 4 of these antelopes to produce one of these shawls. The Chiru was deemed an endangered species in 1975 and therefore it is actually illegal to own or sell shahtoosh in countries that signed the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
Cashmere on the other hand is a fabric that is obtained from an animal that is NOT endangered and neither through a cruel method. The fabric is actually sourced from the cashmere goat via combing or shaving the fluffy undercoat due to it’s highly insulative and delicately soft properties. In contrast to Shahtoosh, cashmere usually has a higher micron count – around 19 microns and different grades depending on the fineness and quality. As a result, Cashmere is considered to be a more ethical and suitable substitute for products like shawls and jumpers instead of Shahtoosh.
We hope you have enjoyed this little comparison and don’t forget to check out the rest of our Cashmere article series on the blog!