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Cashwool® 1978 by Zegna Baruffa
In the fashion industry, "Made in Italy" has become a true label of quality. The secret probably lies in the passing down of traditional craftsmanship skills from generation to generation and the preservation of a regional specialisation. The north of the country specialises in fabrics, with the city of Biella near Milan being the Mecca of wool. The name to remember in this context is Zegna Baruffa Lane Borgosesia. Founded more than 170 years ago, Zegna Baruffa is today the reference in the production of fine yarns for knitwear of incomparable quality. In the late 1970s, the Italian spinning mill revolutionised the wool industry with the product to which it owes its reputation: Cashwool® 1978.
The name Cashwool is a combination of the words cashmere and wool. Described in one sentence, Cashwool is an incredibly soft merino wool that is as shiny as silk and as soft as cashmere.
A guaranteed mulesing free wool
Zegna Baruffa has been certified as an RWS company since 2019, using one of the few Australian wools that is guaranteed mulesing-free. The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) label ensures the welfare of sheep in wool production. In addition to better land management, the farmer commits, among other things, not to mulesing his sheep. Cashwool® 1978 is also certified according to the Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, which guarantees non-toxic textiles and dyes that are gentle on people and the environment.
100% extra-fine merino wool
Can you quantify softness? We say yes, we can at least try! Merino wool is renowned for its fineness. It is this fineness that gives it its softness and makes it so comfortable to wear on the skin. With an average fibre diameter of about 19.5 microns, merino wool is three times finer than the wool of any other sheep breed. Still hard to imagine the fineness? A human hair has a diameter of about 70 microns, more than three times that of a merino wool fibre.
The wool used for Cashwool comes from Australia, the preferred breeding area for merino sheep. These four-legged balls of wool are perfectly adapted to the local weather conditions and easily survive the hot summers and icy winters. When made into clothing, merino wool retains these thermoregulatory properties: In winter it keeps you warm and is breathable at the same time, in summer it absorbs moisture without causing unpleasant body odour. The list of merino wool's qualities is much longer, which is why it is one of our favourite materials for clothing and accessories.
To judge a sweater, you need to know its weight and gauge. Of course, knowing these two values doesn't have the same effect as trying on the sweater and feeling its soft knits hug your body. But it is a good way to judge from a distance, e.g. when shopping online, its thickness and thus its seasonality.
In a sweater, the weight corresponds to its density. Ours has a combat weight of 300g, which officially puts it in the category of light winter sweaters. Unofficially, a sweater of this weight is an all-season sweater, depending on the local climate and the way you wear it: directly on the skin it is ideal for the mid-season at 10-15°C, worn over a shirt it will accompany you all winter. You probably won't be able to go on a snow hike in Lapland with your Cashwool jumper, but it will keep you warm enough in everyday life. We'll just assume you throw on an additional jacket or coat when you go outside.
The gauge number indicates the thickness of knitwear. It corresponds to the number of stitches in one inch (i.e. 2.54 cm). The higher the gauge, the finer the mesh of the sweater and the less it will keep you warm. The gauge of our Cashwool crewneck sweater is 14, which corresponds to a high fineness.
7 bright colours that last
Apart from its incredible softness, the other special feature of Cashwool® 1978 is the luminosity and durability of the colours. The merino wool fibres used are so fine and white the colours are very well absorbed by the yarn when dyed. Now you just have to decide which one to get - or not... we have one for every day of the week!
Over half a century old family knitting mill
In the late 1960s, the needles in our sweater knitting mill threaded for the first time. Almost half a century later, the small atelier near Florence in Italy, has become a company specialising in knitwear and accessories. But it is still the same family that runs the knitting machines.
A detail that isn't one: our knitwear manufacturer only works with local, i.e. Italian, raw materials to ensure better traceability and compliance with social and environmental standards.
Fully-fashioned vs. Cut & Sew
There are two methods of making knitwear: cut and sew and fully-fashioned. The first is the industrial method where the different parts of the garment - in this case the chest, back and sleeves - are cut out of a large piece of fabric and then sewn together. The result is a lot of fabric waste.
To avoid this waste and achieve a better fit, there is the fully-fashioned fabrication method. Here, the different parts of the sweater are knitted directly into shape and then sewn together. The proportions are more harmonious, the seams are cleaner and more solid. The result is an (almost) tailor-made fit and avoids unnecessary waste of resources.
Slim fit shape and classic round collar
With the Cashwool sweater, we wanted to design a garment that was timeless in both style and durability. First, we found an incredibly soft and durable material. Then we selected a manufacturer with proven expertise and chose a method of making that was not only more beautiful and durable, but also more responsible in its use of resources. Finally, we just had to define the style.
So that the sweater can be worn over a shirt to the office as well as over a T-shirt on the weekends or directly on the skin, the fit is slim without being tight. The classic round collar is the ideal neckline when wearing a sweater with a shirt. Ours measures 2 cm. The ribbed cuffs and hips are robust and flexible at the same time. This way, they don't wear out over time. For a harmonious look, they measure 6.5 cm in both places. So, have we achieved our goal?
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