The knitwear thread

viaattovannucci

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You pay €600 a pop?
How frightfully common! How ghastly and unbecoming of the elitest dresser of DW! Surely a question that would only be posed in public by middling middle managers and insecure influencers that populate SF.

But I’ll make a deal. You reveal the identity of your backalley Neapolitan tailor along with il suo amico-cliente pricing (inclusive of candies for the ladies and espresso for the gentleman), and I’ll post the price list for the entire range of Scottish knitwear at Charvet with my friend’s personal contact information.
 

The Shooman

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Oh i agree. They are very easy to get in touch with. Just ask The Shooman The Shooman who has been waiting for a reply to his email for 2 years and the black SF igent who they prevented from entering the premises by locking him out.
I really don't understand it. I wrote to Charvet, O'connell's and Kabbaz about their knitwear (big buck items) and none of them bothered answering me back. They have emails and say they will get back to customers, but it seems to be nothing but a lie. They all give such lousy impressions when they can't even muster up the manners to make a response. I really don't want to bother with any of them anymore, why should l support those type of people who seem to think l am not even worthy of a response. My emails are very simple and short so l can make their job as easy as possible, but even that is not good enough for them. I want to support good people with manners and good customer service, I just ask for a simple response to a simple set of questions within a 2 week period if possible. The two questions l usually ask are: 1). what is the pit to pit measurement, 2). how long is the jumper? That's it!

A famous forum bespoke maker missed a sure sale a while back. His site promised to get back to me within the hour (unless night time), but about 2 months later l am still waiting for a reply.

Remember fellas, talk is cheap. These people can promise the world, but actions speaks louder than words. Don't talk the talk, walk the walk and you'll get people's respect.
 
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CesareRomiti

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How frightfully common! How ghastly and unbecoming of the elitest dresser of DW! Surely a question that would only be posed in public by middling middle managers and insecure influencers that populate SF.

But I’ll make a deal. You reveal the identity of your backalley Neapolitan tailor along with il suo amico-cliente pricing (inclusive of candies for the ladies and espresso for the gentleman), and I’ll post the price list for the entire range of Scottish knitwear at Charvet with my friend’s personal contact information.
No probleM

ZAMBRANO CARMINE
Via Nardones, 106
80132 Napoli (NA)

And i do not pay anything ever, all my commissions are being financed by the difference between real prices and the dream prices all tailoring pilgrims pay
 

viaattovannucci

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I don’t know how they hold up against the J. Press original Shaggy Dogs. . . But now that they are on sale, they are also a fraction of the price:

https://huckberry.com/store/shetland-woollen-company

I’d imagine that picking up one each in navy and gray would be a great beginning to any Scottish knitwear collection. Especially for those who, unlike some of us (myself, The Shooman The Shooman , and CesareRomiti CesareRomiti ), are uninterested in being haunted by dead men.
 
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fxh

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Inside the Business of Vicuña, the Wool Worth More Than Gold
For years, products made from the fleece of vicuña have been a symbol of ultimate luxury. Now, demand is rising and competition is heating up.
By Osman Ahmed April 14, 2017 12:36
ALTIPLANO, Peru — There’s a reason why the Incas worshipped vicuña, the miniature cinnamon-hued cousins of the llama. The doe-eyed creatures, which inhabit the chilly Andean plateaus, produce a fleece so fine that it was considered to be cloth of gold. Only Inca royalty was permitted to wear it. About three million vicuña once roamed the rocky terrains of the Andes — until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, who made guns the primary method of obtaining “the silk of the new world” which was used to line King Philip II’s divans. And, for centuries, the animals were hunted, rather than sheared, for a material substantially finer than cashmere.

By the 1950s, vicuña had become synonymous with two pop cultural references. The more notable related to a scandal concerning Sherman Adams, US president Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff, who was forced to resign in 1958 after accepting a vicuña overcoat from a textile mogul who was under federal investigation. The case would become known as the Vicuña Coat Affair. The other was a scene in the 1950 film “Sunset Boulevard,” in which a tailor urges American actor William Holden, “As long as the lady is paying, why not take the vicuña?”

Both of those moments did much to reinforce the expensive allure of vicuña wool, which, by 1960, was incredibly scarce due to the fact that there were less than 5,000 of the creatures left in the Andes. After many unsuccessful attempts, the government of Peru, where much of the population lived, put its proverbial foot down and banned the hunting of the species, which were soon classified as officially endangered with an embargo placed on all trade of its wool by The Washington Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Nature reserves were established for the preservation of the animals, and slowly vicuña became less relevant to a younger generation of luxury consumers. But a couple of vicuña admirers, inspired by their father’s love of the fibre, saw opportunity in the material: Sergio and Pier Luigi Loro Piana, the co-CEOs of Loro Piana, the Italian mill that was a part of the mid-century ‘Made in Italy’ movement and would eventually grow into one of the world’s largest producers of cashmere — and its biggest supplier of vicuña.


Per kilo, raw vicuña can fetch up to six times more than cashmere | Source: Courtesy

“We worked a lot to reintroduce vicuña to the commercial world,” says Pier Luigi Loro Piana, vice president of his family’s eponymous brand, which became actively involved with the Peruvian authorities by officially investing in nature reserves and preservation initiatives in the mid-1980s. “We worked pretty hard in the ‘80s and early ‘90s to make that happen,” he says of his and his late brother’s efforts to get vicuña back on the market. By 1994, their foresight paid off when The Washington Convention relaxed its restrictions and the Peruvian government chose Loro Piana as its exclusive partner in the procurement, processing and export of vicuña in the form of fabric and finished products. “Since then, we sourced a lot of vicuña that was officially sheared, and researched ways that we could develop a variety of items in new product categories to develop the possibility of a market for it here.”

Today, the total global supply of vicuña wool produced annually that can be transformed into yarn is only about 12 tonnes, compared to approximately 25,000 tonnes of cashmere. “Per kilo, vicuña costs between $399 to $600, compared to $75 to $85 for cashmere and $5 or $6 for wool,” says Pascaline Wilhelm, fashion director of Première Vision, the Parisian textiles and fabric fair. “It is seen as the finest and most luxurious of these fibres and it’s very exceptional to see 100 percent vicuña as it’s so expensive.”

But is there a genuine market for finished products made of the material? Or is the business of vicuña more like haute couture: a demonstration of creativity and quality that ultimately functions more like a marketing exercise?

At London’s Harrods department store, the spiritual home of the high-net-worth-individual, vicuña appears to be popular — though in true testament to Thorstein Veblen’s theory, the high price of the material may be one of its biggest selling points. “We now have a strong demand for vicuña and our clients recognise that it is one of the rarest and finest materials in the world,” says Helen David, the store’s chief merchant, though she declined to reveal specific sales figures. “The biggest offer we have is still obviously from Loro Piana, however, we also carry pieces from Berluti, Zegna, Brioni and Zilli.” Harrods also carries Falke’s pure vicuña socks, priced at $620. “In the end, it took us two years to produce the socks,” says Paul Falke, who adds that the wool is sourced from Loro Piana. “The demand for them is high, but as the yarn is so rare and exclusive we can only produce a small number a year, which is what true luxury is all about.”

At the Loro Piana boutique on London’s Bond St, a large, widescreen television plays a high-definition video of the animals roaming the Andes; elsewhere, a sack of raw vicuña wool invites customers to dip their hands into what feels like a cloud — the idea is that after touching it, cashmere simply doesn't compare. “Once you become addicted it’s very hard to change,” says Mr Loro Piana. One of the brand’s vicuña sweaters is up to four-and-a-half times the price of its cashmere equivalent — $995 compared to $4,495 for otherwise comparable V-neck sweaters. And the decadence of its 100 percent vicuña jackets and capes is often amplified by chinchilla trims and mink linings, making for what some see as the ultimate status symbol. Yet Loro Piana’s Bond Street store only ever has one of each style at a time and products made of vicuña make up a very small percentage of the items on display.

“For our business, it’s a very small part but a very significant one,” says Mr Loro Piana, who, with his brother, in 2013, sold 80 percent of the brand to French luxury conglomerate LVMH for $2 billion. Loro Piana, which is by far the world’s largest maker of finished vicuña products, declined to reveal precisely what portion of total sales revenue they represent.

But Mr Loro Piana is hesitant about vicuña being compared to couture. “It depends what you mean by haute couture,” he says. “If you mean it as something that’s in the air without any real meaning to the world, then no. But if you mean it as an expression of creativity and the highest level of quality, then you can compare it. Vicuña should be in the wardrobe of every Loro Piana customer — if only just one item.”

Loro Piana now has control over most of the world's vicuña market — it opened the 2,000-hectare Dr. Franco Loro Piana Reserva in Peru in 2008 and purchased a majority share in an Argentinian firm with legal permission to shear wild vicuña in an area of approximately 85,000 hectares in 2013.

Loro Piana now has a dominant share of the vicuña market | Source: Courtesy

Until three years ago, the company sold its vicuña yarn to other brands. “To be competitive and provide to third parties, you need a critical mass of the raw material,” explains Mario Ortelli, senior analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “Other brands that source from Loro Piana are usually proud to say it because it’s synonymous with vicuña and high quality, so it’s a win-win situation.”

But today the company has pulled back and says it only sells vicuña-cashmere blends to third-parties, reserving its supply of 100-percent vicuña wool for its own products. “I think it’s a great way to get Loro Piana to stand apart,” says Luca Solca, head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas. “They have access to a number of raw materials — lotus, baby cashmere, vicuña — which helps them to substantiate their high-end ambition, unlike some of their competitors.”

While it dominates supply, Loro Piana is not the only brand that has access to pure vicuña, however. Other brands and mills have been sourcing the wool in South America since 2002, when The Washington Convention opened up the trade of vicuña to outsiders. Ermenegildo Zegna and Kering-owned Brioni offer products made from vicuña, which they say they source independently.

Savile Row firm Holland & Sherry began been sourcing its own vicuña in 2003 from Bolivia, Peru, Argentina and Chile. (The company says it must source across four countries because Loro Piana’s near-monopoly makes it difficult to source enough vicuña in just one country). “When you say ‘vicuña’ to customers, the next words to come out of their mouth will be ‘Loro Piana,’” says Richard Chambers, Holland & Sherry’s commercial director. “Our service is just as good as theirs, if not better, but they have been part of that development from early on and now that they are part of the LVMH group, it seems they are only promoting it to the other brands within that same family.”

Moreover, Haider Ackermann’s inaugural ready-to-wear collection for LVMH-owned Berluti included a double-breasted overcoat with peak lapels which was crafted from 100-percent vicuña, which the Italian brand says was sourced from Loro Piana.

So how does Loro Piana’s emphasis on conservation play into its commercial agenda? “We have become a market leader because we had the possibility to buy the majority of what was available and guarantee the continuity of that business to the breeders,” says Mr Loro Piana “We needed to convince them that it was worth it for them to breed these animals. Also, to breed a vicuña you need at least 10 hectares and you need people to watch them.”

Meg Lukens Noonan, author of “The Coat Route: On the Trail of the $50,000 Coat,” began her research into vicuña seven years ago and has witnessed first-hand the traditional “chakku” shearing process, which is inspired by Inca tradition. She says the Italian brand has been pivotal in bolstering the population of the species in the wild, but is sceptical about the trade agreements the company has in place with local villagers. “The villagers were given a stake in the harvesting of the fleece so that it was advantageous for everyone; they got some money out of it and also had reason to protect the vicuña from poachers,” says Lukens Noonan. “But the villagers have not made a lot of money from this, especially when you look at the disparity [between what they earn and] what the finished products are worth.

“I think that what [Loro Piana] has done has certainly helped keep the animal alive, but I’m not sure that Loro Piana has had a positive influence on the [local] population or not,” adds Lukens Noonan. “It’s not profitable enough for Peruvians to sort of set up their own manufacturing and it is very niche.”

Mr Loro Piana seems aware that things must change in order to attract new workers to the profession of vicuña breeding. “We need a young generation to take care of the vicuña,” he says. “But they need to have the same standard of living as those young people in town otherwise they’ll just leave the Andes.”
 

fxh

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Solving the Cashmere Crisis
How do fashion businesses respond when a raw material that they depend upon is under threat?
By Kate Abnett November 26, 2015 19:22
LONDON, United Kingdom — A fashion business exercises careful control: over its image; its business growth; where possible, over how consumers respond to its brand. But even the world’s most prestigious luxury houses cannot control the climate.

According to a report released this month by Kering and non-profit consultancy Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), climate change is already having noticeable effects on global cashmere supplies — and this impact is likely to get worse.

Currently, cashmere products make up €4 billion of the €60 billion global luxury apparel market, according to data provided by Bain & Company. “The cashmere knitwear market is definitely outgrowing the luxury apparel market,” says Federica Levato, senior consultant at Bain & Company, who cites “casualisation of the market” — dressed-down, comfort-led trends like athleisure — as the main driver of demand.

In the last few years, the “democratisation” of the fashion industry has caught up with cashmere. Once a highly expensive commodity, available to an exclusive few; today, affordable, casual cashmere products have permeated the high street. At Uniqlo and H&M, pure cashmere knitwear starts at $79.90; while athleisure retailer Kit & Ace has built its brand around "technical cashmere," — blends of cashmere and sport-friendly materials like spandex.

But, cashmere is under threat. Made of the fine winter undercoat of Hircus goats, the global cashmere clip is estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tonnes, or 6,500 tonnes of "pure" cashmere after it is cleaned. Luxury brands are more selective in their sourcing, centring on Mongolia and Inner Mongolia (an autonomous region within China that borders Mongolia), and using only the finer, longer and whiter fibres. However, most of the global cashmere output comes from China, where The Nature Conservancy estimates there are over 100 million goats. According to the National Resources Defense Council, it can take four goats to produce enough fibres for one sweater.

While cotton, silk, or leather — all key raw materials on which the luxury fashion sector depends — can be produced in modified farming systems, cashmere production relies on natural grasslands in limited geographies. As a result, it is especially vulnerable to environmental change.

“The availability of cashmere has suffered because of the degradation of the native grasslands, which the animals depend on for their food,” says Elisa Niemtzow, consumer sectors director at BSR and co-author of Kering and BSR’s report. “We’re talking about changes in temperature, in water availability and in the extreme winter conditions.”

According to the United Nations Development Programme, 90 percent of Mongolia is fragile dry-land, under increasing threat of desertification. In 2010, the combined impact of a drought the preceding summer (which reduced available forage in the grasslands) and a dzud (an extremely severe winter), saw more than nine million livestock perish in the country, of which most were cashmere goats.

According to Pier Luigi Loro Piana, deputy chairman of Italian fashion house Loro Piana, which specialises in luxury cashmere and wool products, the recurring dzud has seen Mongolia and Inner Mongolia suffer cashmere shortages for 50 years. “You learn over the years how to balance these potential shortages,” he says. “Unfortunately, they continue to have an impact on the shepherds and their communities, on the animals, the environment.”

However, in recent years, the environmental obstacles facing cashmere have worsened. To tackle rising demand, many producers increased the size of their herds — from 1993 to 2009, Mongolia’s livestock population grew from approximately 23 million to 44 million — creating a vicious cycle. More goats mean more grazing; which, in turn, leads to degradation of the grasslands. The result is undernourished goats with coarser hairs, causing the supply of high-quality cashmere to shrink. To make up the lost revenue, herders breed bigger herds, setting off the cycle again.

“There’s been an absolute avalanche of people wanting more and more cashmere, and pushing the price, pushing the supply chain,” says James Sugden OBE, a director of luxury cashmere clothing label, Brora, and former managing director of Scottish woollen mill, Johnstons of Elgin. “It has created a problem, insomuch as in some areas, some growers, tempted by higher volumes have gone for volume rather than quality.”

“Lately what has really worried us as a potential risk for the whole industry is the quantity approach: quantity seems to be overtaking quality,” concurs Mr Loro Piana.

Cashmere’s future is even more precarious. While the dzud is an extreme, cashmere yields depend on harsh winter conditions to grow their high-quality undercoats. Looking forwards to 2036 to 2060, Kering and BSR warn that rising temperatures due to global warming could also constrain goats’ winter hair growth, causing further decline in the quality of cashmere. “There’s sort of a perfect storm,” says Elisa Niemtzow.

So, what does this mean for fashion businesses? According to Niemtzow, luxury brands are already seeing decreases in availability of high quality cashmere. “You can either take it as a decrease in quality or a decrease in availability,” she says. Either way, the raw material is running out.

Two years ago, the Chinese government put restrictions on farmers’ acreage, in a bid to reduce the stripping of the pastureland. However, Outer Mongolia and other producing regions like Afghanistan have no such controls. Even within China, “The problem still remains in terms of finding quality fibre, consistently,” cautions James Sugden.

These changes present not only an environmental concern, but a business risk too. So how does an industry respond, when a raw material that its products — and, therefore, its profits — rely on, becomes endangered?

“Our industry’s challenge is to change this unsustainable system and put new, sustainable practices in place,” says Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering. “Companies need to recognise that their business depends on natural capital and also impacts many livelihoods at the base of their supply chain.”

According to Daveu, Kering’s brands are working with their suppliers to create “production systems that are more resilient to the shocks of climate change impacts,” such as sustainable herding practises and holistic management of pasturelands, or implementing early warning/disaster management systems to respond to negative weather events.

But, with demand for cashmere still high, companies must consider the herding communities in their supply chains, and make it worth their while to farm less, but better. “Desertification also exacerbates economic hardship for herders and drives them into poverty and displacement to urban slums,” says Una Jones, chief executive officer of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA), which was formed in 2015 to unite companies, governments and NGOs to tackle sustainability issues in the cashmere industry, by establishing the first Sustainable Cashmere Standard, which will pilot in 2016.

In 2009, Loro Piana, which was acquired by LVMH in 2013, launched a five-year selective breeding programme, involving about 24,000 cashmere goats in China. By breeding only the most productive animals, the scheme aims to elevate the quality of hair on each animal, resulting in smaller herds but higher yields of quality cashmere — thus easing pressure on the land and avoiding desertification.

The project has “improved standards of living for goats and pastors, as well as a restored balance between animals and environment,” says Mr Loro Piana. A luxury fashion business, he says, must choose “Integrity, investments, research, respect and aiming for the best quality versus mere exploitation.”

“In bad years, we pre-pay. We give the farmers advance money, in order to see them through the winters,” says Sugden of Brora, which processes its garments in Scotland and sources its cashmere from Inner Mongolia, where goats are not just sources of cashmere, but meat and milk for the herding communities. If the commodity price of cashmere drops, “Our responsibility is to try and not take advantage of that. We want consistency of quality, number one. The price is secondary,” he says.

“A number of luxury brands and retailers are stepping up to the plate,” says Una Jones, to tackle the industry’s current “unsustainable production and consumption patterns and how the sector will have to change to meet their future demands.” Last year, for example, Burberry added protecting its cashmere supply to the company’s environmental targets for 2017.

But is it too late for the so-called “diamond fibre?” Should fashion business also adapt their strategies to the possibility of shrinking cashmere supplies?

As more environmental changes make farming more challenging, and modernisation across Asia tempts younger generations away from their families herding businesses, James Sugden says luxury brands have a “duty” to support their suppliers, by protecting the price, and ensuring suppliers understand, “It’s better to be at the top end of the market, and not to be tempted by the larger orders from Uniqlo or the like.” But, he adds, “The bulk producers have a responsibility.”

At Kering, Daveu, remains positive. “Ultimately, availability will also be positively affected,” she says, of Kering’s collaborative efforts. “We have a tremendous opportunity now to work on this issue to create a vibrant cashmere industry that helps regenerate natural systems and supports the livelihoods of millions of people. Let’s look to the solution, not just the problem.”
 

The Shooman

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Bought a 1960's Lyle & Scott cashmere cardigan. I've wanted some brown cashmere knitwear for some time.
Lyle & Scott brown cardigan.jpg

Just a note to say that the brand new Brunello Cucinelli cardigan l have pills moderately like the Johnston of Elgin cashmere jumpers, yet the top vintage scottish knitwear hardly if ever pills.
 

Jupiter

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No probleM

ZAMBRANO CARMINE
Via Nardones, 106
80132 Napoli (NA)

And i do not pay anything ever, all my commissions are being financed by the difference between real prices and the dream prices all tailoring pilgrims pay
Can we see/will you show us your Zambrano stuff?

Saw recently the name of Ginno Cimmino, old taylor of politicians, princes, kings and drag queens. Youv'e certainly heard about him. Seems interesting.
 

CesareRomiti

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I don't know where you are getting all of these from, but they are simply incredible. You are very lucky. It must be an amazing feeling to have access to this type of knitwear.

Actually, l have my eyes on things too.
Same old ebaying...
Ebay US is a treasure trove
These americans! Crazy! Selling everything!!!

New acquisitions (the sweater vest is a pringle):
BF1A4D3E-51E1-4593-A441-1106762ED732.png
2D94369F-8A90-4620-8B02-095D71A150DA.png
F9CDB9C9-6A0E-439A-B5D0-4CF8C0EB1CF6.png
D6A6F2C4-55F3-4D25-83B5-3ABA7E2AACA1.png
9C648F4F-2098-4131-91B4-F8A64276B7AF.png
 

The Shooman

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Report on my cashmere purchases

1980's (I think) vintage Club Room - made-in-Scotland


Club Room has been made in China for years and is supposed to be rubbish so it will be interesting to see how the vintage Scottish stuff is.
Update on this.....

I wore this yesterday (see above), and while the cashmere seems o.k and is made-in-Scotland, the drawback is that it has low armholes.

Snagged this yesterday, a Paul Stuart polo knit for the occasions when it is too warm to wear a turtleneck but cool enough for wool to be worn. 30% cashmere and 70% wool.
Paul Stuart polo knit 1.jpg Paul Stuart polo knit 2.jpg


Also bought some quality Ballantyne cashmere scarves a while back, a red 1970's scarf and a 1980's in yellow.
 
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fxh

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The 1960s Sharpies started the Sharpie trend with their cable knit cardigans in colours like maroon, bottle green and mustard, mainly worn by the boys and sky blue or yellow for the girls. The cardigan designed in the 1970s by F & L Conte Knitwear at 873 High Street, Thornbury became the standout fashion to the 70s Sharpies.

Firstly they were bought off the shelf, with stripes in various widths and colours, as a V-neck, round neck or with a collar, similar to cardigans available from Joseph Saba, Northcote and Stag. Mr Conte manufactured his cardigans from a shop front, so soon the Sharps were requesting custom colours and patterns to stand out from their mates, front pocket flaps were added on the chest, as well as a small buttoned belt on the rear. The average adult wage in 1972 was around $90 per week with those just leaving school or starting an apprenticeships about half that, so a Connie back then at $26 equates to about $350 today.

Eventually these cardigans became known as "Connies" and other companies like Sam's Knitwear in Sydney Road, Coburg soon followed with custom design manufacture. By the mid 1970s, Connies were the top teenage fashion trend of Melbourne and commercial companies cashed in with brands such as Goodman, Calabria, Waldrons, Onyx, Knitland and Wellsknit.

The end of the 1970s saw the end to these distinctive cardigans, until today with the recent interest in Sharpie culture from exhibitions in 2006 and 2010 and the numerous books on Sharps that have recently been published. To differ from the original Connies, these reproductions are produced under the same name "Conny" with matching high quality materials and slim fit, they are still made in Melbourne by a local Knitwear company.

http://www.foreversharp.com.au/products
 
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Thruth

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-19/why-a-cashmere-sweater-can-cost-2-000-or-30

STYLE
Why a Cashmere Sweater Can Cost $2,000 … or $30
The rise of cashmere has created an oddly wide price gap for plain sweaters.
By
Kim Bhasin
and
Justina Vasquez
April 19, 2018, 3:00 AM CST

Cashmere pullovers on the move at a Loro Piana store in Milan.
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
A plain, yet meticulously crafted, sweater made of the world’s finest cashmere can cost $2,000 or more from premier fashion labels such as Loro Piana. You can also grab a simple sweater of 100 percent cashmere off a discount rack at Uniqlo for as little as $29.90.


Made from the softest wool produced by certain breeds of goats, such as the Zalaa Ginst white goat and Tibetan Plateau goat, cashmere was once reserved for the wealthiest fashionistas. (Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife helped popularize the fabric.) But over the past two decades, its cachet skyrocketed and cheaper garments flooded the market.


Nearly $1.4 billion of cashmere garments were exported globally in 2016, up from $1.2 billion in 2010, according to United Nations trade data. That's nearly 5 million kilograms worth of pullovers, cardigans, and other tops. Now it’s seemingly everywhere, at every price point. Ubiquity can spell trouble for a product as it becomes more of a commodity, especially one that’s been historically marketed as a luxury item.



So what makes one sweater better than another? The price depends on the quality of the yarn, where the garment was manufactured, the number of units purchased by the brand, and the markup.



Dyed cashmere fleeces being spun at Loro Piana SpA's plant in Roccapietra, Italy.
Photographer: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg
The quality of the raw material often matters most. Lengthier cashmere fibers maintain their integrity for a longer time, allowing garments to retain their structure. Pilling—the small balls that form on the fabric as it chafes—is more common in garments made of shorter cashmere strands. These days, manufacturers frequently make the clothes out of a mix of lengths to balance quality with cost.
The thickness of the yarn used for the fabric determines its durability. So-called single-ply yarn is the weakest and can quickly lead to holes in a favorite sweater. Higher-quality cashmere pieces are typically two or three strands thick.
Finer and smoother individual strands create softer garments, but they are rare and thus, cost more. American consumers value this softness above all else.
“The customer cares more about the hand-feel than they care about the durability or the color saturation,” said Matt Scanlan, chief executive officer of sustainable cashmere label Naadam. “They don’t even care if it starts to pill. We’ve just become used to it.”

Cashmere goats are bred in various locations around the world, including Australia, China, and Mongolia, but Scotland and Italy are known for cashmere-manufacturing prowess. Luxury fashion houses such as Loro Piana and Brunello Cuccinelli depend on the expertise of their workers to wash, treat, and refine the fabric. Cashmere, for instance, repels a lot of dye. Italy, however, has developed ways to achieve strong saturation.
Not every manufacturer takes such care. Blended versions of cashmere sweaters, available at most retailers these days, can contain varying quantities of the fabric. In some cases, as little as 5 percent of a garment is made from the good stuff, with the rest a combination of mass-market fabrics such as polyester or nylon. The product is still marketed as a “cashmere-blend.”

Cashmere clothes displayed on shelves in a Uniqlo store in Singapore.
Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg
Occasionally, even fake cashmere makes it to store shelves. "There is certainly fraud on this front,” says Frances Kozen, a director at the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation. Deceitful sellers and counterfeiters sometimes create cashmere blends labeled 100 percent cashmere that contain wool, viscose rayon, and acrylic—and possibly even rat fur, she says.
The lower-quality blends, occasional outright fraud, and ubiquity has diluted cashmere’s luxe reputation, and shoppers have slowly gotten used to lower-quality product.
The industry is attempting to rehabilitate the fabric’s reputation by educating consumers as to where cashmere comes from. Naadam, Scanlan’s cashmere label, assures customers that it uses only the longest fibers, promising that this will make the garments last longer. The label touts its sustainable grazing practices and lack of chemicals or bleaches. Sweaters from Naadam aren’t cheap, going for $125 to $225, so the brand must show shoppers why it’s worth their cash.
“Cashmere still has a lot of meaning for people, even though a lot of brands have bastardized what a lot of words mean,” says Shilpa Shah, co-founder of clothing and accessories label Cuyana. The brand’s cashmere sweaters are manufactured in Scotland and Italy and cost from $155 to $495. They don’t match up to the quality of what you’ll find from designers at a much higher price, but Shah insists they get close.
As for the lesser-quality cashmere being sold, Shah has an optimistic view: At least shoppers are trying some kind of cashmere and may seek out better versions. “In some sense, I should be thanking them,” Shah says of the cheap cashmere sellers, “because it’s an introduction to what the material could be.”
 

The Shooman

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Democratization of cashmere to the masses has destroyed the market by wiping out the top players, and now luxury has lost it's luster! Human beings need to realise that they can't have everything.
 

fxh

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Deceitful sellers and counterfeiters sometimes create cashmere blends labeled 100 percent cashmere that contain wool, viscose rayon, and acrylic—and possibly even rat fur, she says.
 

The Shooman

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Deceitful sellers and counterfeiters sometimes create cashmere blends labeled 100 percent cashmere that contain wool, viscose rayon, and acrylic—and possibly even rat fur, she says.
Yes.

And what is also bad is that `so called' luxury highend cashmere brands that cost $$$$ now use plastic buttons on their cardigans instead of mother-of-pearl like the old Scottish knitwear used to. See...the definition of luxury has been lowered...any old thing passes for luxury these days. Luxury has long lost it's luster with many things because marketing can baffle brains that know no better!
 

The Shooman

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Purchased a cashmere turtleneck from an old company that was called Gladstone of Hawick. Hardly worn and in excellent condition. Didn't cost much, only 25 bucks LOL. Hopefully it will be o.k and also has higher armholes.

Late edit: I just did some research and found out that Gladstone of Hawick used to make cashmere for Burberry's.
Gladstone of Hawick turtleneck.jpg

I must admit my vintage turtlenecks by Ballantyne, Pringle and Lyle & Scott are all superb. Lets hope this is good as well.
 
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The Shooman

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Purchased a vintage made-in-Scotland Hermes cashmere jumper. I decided to collect a bunch of Hermes scotland jumpers to find out what the Hermes experience delivers. Very hard to find these.

I will be very interested in seeing how these Hermes hold up over time compared to other top jumpers. I need to find out if Hermes are as special as people think they are.


Yesterday l wore all the top knitwear. I had a medium blue kiton cashmere turtleneck with a peach coloured Hermes' made-in-Scotland cashmere v neck over it. It looked and felt very luxurious.
 

The Shooman

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I purchased a really decent thick scottish cashmere turtleneck cable knit recently and will say that it is surprisingly good. It is at least a solid 4 ply, maybe even a 6 ply. It is called Laminer and hand framed and made in Scotland.

My vintage Paul Stuart 3 ply dark green cashmere turtleneck is exactly like my Ballantyne, but it is slightly thicker. Impeccable quality!

My Hermes made in scotland cashmere sweater above is very nice too. Impeccable quality and has the seemingly typical unique sleeves that are a tough baggy. Hermes seem to make sleeves to body builders. Weird.
 
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