Brora Scottish cashmere wardrobe staples
Before I start, I do understand that Brora cashmere is, for most of us, an expensive purchase. Certainly much more of an outlay than picking up a couple of sweaters at M&S for instance. However. When you read the story behind these long-lasting sustainably made classic pieces (scroll to the bottom for all the details), that’s where value, rather than price, comes in.
For me, I’d rather buy nothing for ages, save up a little, and then invest in one or two really special, well-made and long-lasting pieces. I’ve been tempted in the past by savings in the Brora sales, but to be honest, there’s usually a good reason why those pieces are reduced. They never seem to be the timeless, never-go-out-of-date staples in the perfect classic colours. My wardrobe really doesn’t need a lime green cardigan that doesn’t go with anything but seems an amazing bargain because it has £200 off! Far better to wait until I can afford to buy the right colour, the right design. The pieces that I’ll enjoy wearing over and over again because they actually go with everything. So, in case you’re feeling the same way, I thought I’d share my pick of the wardrobe staples in Brora’s Scottish cashmere collection.
I’ve gone for three perfect designs and kept the colour palette options to black, camel and navy only because these are the colours that will go with so many others and are always chic.
Attention to detail makes this the perfect V-neck cardi – the cut, length and button size are all just right. Made with love and care in one of the oldest cashmere mills in Scotland, this is a knitwear staple that will more than earn its place in your wardrobe. Perfect worn on its own with jeans or for layering. Love this design of cardigan with pretty dresses. Scroll down to see this cardigan in the other two classic colours: Black and Camel:
If you’re looking for the perfect cashmere cardigan you will treasure for life, this one might well be it. Made in one of the oldest cashmere mills in the Scottish Borders with round neck, button fastening and in a modern classic shape, this is a luxury that will more than earn its keep. There’s a slightly retro feel to this design that I love. Think Claire Foy as the young queen in The Crown. Probably a step too far to add a string of pearls, but you get my drift….Here is it is in the other two colourways, black and navy:
A key part of the Brora Scottish made classics collection, this cashmere modern classic polo neck is another one of those rare pieces that never go out of style. Just the cosiest knit for chilly days or casual weekends. Also love this shape layered over pretty dresses or skirts with boots or trainers. This is another timeless staple and well worth the investment. Here it is in the other two colourways: camel and black.
Hope you like my pick and enjoy years of pleasure in your Brora purchases!
How to take care of your Brora cashmere
If properly cared for, your Brora knit will stand the test of time, only becoming softer and more luxurious with age. Cashmere doesn’t need washing after every wear. Methods such as airing and gently combing your knitwear are often enough to keep them in top condition. When it does need washing, simply follow these steps.
More about Brora Scottish Cashmere
Every season, Brora carefully select the best cashmere fibres from the native goat of the Mongolian plateaux, carefully removing the coarse hairs to ensure Brora cashmere is Grade A. Only the finest and longest fibres are used by Brora, so that you can be sure your garment will be of exceptional quality.
Cashmere fibres can only be collected in the spring, when they naturally moult and only 200 grams of the precious fibre are produced per goat. On average, it takes the cashmere fibre of four goats to make a single Brora jumper while two cashmere goats are needed to knit a scarf.
By buying Brora, you are supporting British manufacturing and helping preserve traditional craft. Since the brand was founded almost 30 years ago, all Brora cashmere has been made at one of the oldest mills in Scotland which started with a staff of just ten. Today, they employ around 300 people from the local community, providing more training and apprenticeship opportunities than any other business in the Scottish textile industry.
At the mill, the skills involved in working with cashmere have been passed down from generation to generation. Every step of the way they apply their expertise and, in doing so, take their part in creating the highest quality, long lasting cashmere that will stand the test of time.
While they continue to invest in the latest technologies, many of the steps involved in creating quality cashmere are still carried out by hand, such as the cutting of a neckline. Cashmere offcuts are put to good use and made into elbow patches or even mattress fillers.
All Brora cashmere designs are washed in soft, Scottish water. This not only helps make them long lasting and luxurious but naturally reduces the number of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. The levels of those which are used are carefully monitored and all feature on the approved list of the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation.
Sourcing cashmere from Scotland’s only ‘vertical’ mill, means that each part of the manufacturing process takes place within a single location, minimising the movement of Brora products and reducing air freight. As a result, Brora have complete control over quality as well as their impact on the planet.
Brora environmental commitment
Brora cashmere production is based on over 200 years of expertise and is as gentle with the environment as it is with the delicate fibres. For example, many brands will buy cheaper, dark fibres and heavily bleach them ahead of dyeing. In contrast, Brora select fibres close to the desired end colour, minimising both the amount of bleach and dye used.
While these chemicals have an obvious environmental impact, they can also be hugely damaging to cashmere, thus reducing the quality and lifespan. This process, along with the mill’s other environmental commitments are managed using the ISO 9001 Environmental Management Standard and we know exactly how each process is carried out because of our close supplier relationships and regular visits.
Once each cashmere garment is made, it is brushed with the dried heads of the teasel plant so that the hooked ends can gently tease out and align the cashmere fibres to produce the characteristic ripple finish of Brora woven products.
Just like fine wine, quality cashmere only gets better with time as the softest fibres form on the surface to make it even more luxurious. Although each cashmere fibre is six times finer than human hair, it is capable of making a jumper that can be treasured for generations.
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