These fabrics truly deserve to be called the most ancient ones that a man has been using since the neolithic. Both applied for a luxury clothing, they are renowned for exceptional softness and warmth, while one of the most basic and cornerstone differences is their origin: cashmere comes from Kashmir goat, whereas merino wool is obtained from sheep. To which extent the different origins influence their performance? The answer is given below.
Considering the price factor as the cornerstone one for many when selecting wool or cashmere fabric, we will start off the comparison with it.
The difference in price is rooted in the area of the animals body used for shearing. Or combing off in case of Kashmir goats, to be exact. A sheep gives its whole wool surface, while goats are taken wool only in selected areas. Nevertheless the difference in the amount of fibre each animal gives (a merino sheep certainly wins here), the processing of one goat takes way more time. Not surprisingly, higher labour costs reflect on the final price of cashmere fabric, leaving behind even the rarest breeds of merino sheep wool.
Another price-influencing factor is cashmere fineness: amazingly thin, it is difficult to process and weave.
Result: 1:0 in favour of merino wool
Cashmere is famous for its outstanding hand, which is true for its Grade A. The wonderfully silky and soft hand has a downside as well – cashmere is subjected to tearing. Much heavier than merino wool does.
But don’t rush to downvote cashmere here, it still has a trump card in his sleeve! Did you know, that cashmere is unexpectedly friendly to high air humidity and feels perfectly both in humid continental and arid climate zones.
So, who is the winner here?
Result: 2:0 – We leave this round for merino wool again, as generally it is more durable. At the same time, if you live in a country with a wet climate, cashmere will be an adorable option in the matters of durability as well.
Well, here’s where a true battle starts! What makes cashmere highly distinctive, is the availability of natural colours, namely white, grey and brown. Such a limited number of colourways makes cashmere even more precious, as they easily indicate what type of fabric your outfit is made of.
On the contrary, merino wool comes basically dyed, as its natural tints are not much attractive. Despite it accepts dye perfectly well, it doesn’t usually have that vibe of luxury as cashmere has.
Result: 2:1 – Cashmere wins this round for the splendour of colourways given it by nature. The luxury three outweigh artificial dyeing of merino, even though the latter one is not bad at all.
Lighter and thinner compared with merino, cashmere doesn’t give an impression of amazingly warm type of fabric. But it is warmer, in fact. The secret is in its hollow-type fibre, which is more effective in heat insulation than that of merino. Checkmate.
Result: 2:2 – Cashmere. The trick is in harsher alpine climate of Kashmir, where an animal could easily climb the high rocks while staying warm.
5. Moisture issues
Both cashmere and merino offer high comfort in terms of dealing with sweat. However, each one approaches this problem differently. Merino is known for wicking moisture away from your skin and drying it fast. What does cashmere do?
It just prevents appearing of moisture on your skin, as its structure offers good airflow while retaining your body heat. What would you choose?
Result: 3:3 – Draw. Both fabrics effectively fight sweat, and in case this factor is relevant for you, just choose the method you like more.
6. Amazing properties
Lastly, instead of comparing by equal criteria, we just throw in a couple of features of the each one.
- provides protection against ultraviolet rays;
- absorbs odours, which can be a useful feature in case you want your outfit to carry the notes of your perfume as long as possible.
- Cashmere wool fibres are thinner than those of silk, which results in outstanding softness of the fabric;
- It is not much prone to peeling.
This point suggests no score as the properties are different, just select the most preferable ones.
Summing it up, who is the winner? We leave the choice up to you. The both fabrics perform equally well in demanding conditions and deserve being your first choice ones for a wide number of luxury clothing. However, if you feel pretty much positive about the both, we’d still recommend cashmere as a noble fibre that radiates opulence.