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Cashmere sweaters - Page 2

post #16 of 42
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Personally, I loathe the mass-produced cashmere now saturating the market. Cashmere is supposed to be a luxury fiber. Now people are paying $80 for a sweater and thinking they have cashmere. Call me an elitist or a snob, but it just pisses me the hell off when someone compares Loro Piana to Lands End or BR ;P
Isn't democratization generally a good thing? Where would we be, for example, if only rich people could go to college?
The wide availability of inexpensive cashmere helps to fund cashmere producers, which in turn makes the development of higher-grade cashmere possible (and in larger quantities, to boot). This is good for both the elite and hoi polloi alike. I see no downside. Go, democratization. I understand being a tad frustrated at people not knowing the difference between Land's End and Loro Piana; it's a bit like people equating LeRoy Neiman with Vincent Van Gogh. However, if you're just pissed that people who have less money than you also get to wear cashmere"”and it really is cashmere, even if not of the highest quality"”then you are an elitist and a snob. Cashmere is luxurious because of its unique properties as well as its scarcity, but not because it's "supposed to be." Granted, less educated and less scrupulous producers may make cashmere more common in all senses of the word, but that doesn't mean a good cashmere sweater shouldn't be available for a mere $80...which, by the way, is still damned expensive for most people in the world.
post #17 of 42
So what's so great about going to college??
post #18 of 42
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So what's so great about going to college?
Co-eds.
post #19 of 42
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I understand being a tad frustrated at people not knowing the difference between Land's End and Loro Piana; it's a bit like people equating LeRoy Neiman with Vincent Van Gogh.
Comparing an unsuccessful, crazy Dutch guy with the great American painter who did the artwork for "Rocky III" -- now that's really crossing the line.  
post #20 of 42
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Isn't democratization generally a good thing?
I'd say yes, in general... But not when it comes to my clothes. I buy nice clothes for several reasons. Over about the past year and a half, my taste in clothes has become a lot more discriminating and I've really come to appreciate the little things that make a garment, or label in general, superior. The fabric, the fit, the details and even the service I get shopping all add to it to the experience. I couldn't go back to wearing regular clothes if I had everything stripped from me. My tastes didn't transform overnight, but I gradually developped a deep appreciation for clothes and fashion in general. Quite frankly though I've come to realize how nice it is to stand out and not look like every other guy around me. If I wanted to look like everyone else, I'd go back to shopping at gap. I still remember the day when i showed up for class and myself and 2 friends were all wearing the EXACT SAME pair of pants. There's something to be said for exclusivity. Some people despise the idea that only the rich have access to some things, but that's the way of the world and I think it's a good thing. If I wanted communism I'd move to mainland China. Part of the appeal of cashmere is that it IS exclusive. Is that the only reason I buy it? Of course not. Having said this I'll also say that I'm certainly not someone that wears his labels visibly, but the day everyone starts wearing cashmere will be a sad day. It'll be yet another example of something that was once special being transformed in to ordinary. Pstoller your logic is flawed. A lot of the chinese herd is of low quality. It's useless for production of the high quality stuff. You're not gonna breed kashmir goats that have some angora (there's also something else that they're sometimes crossed with but I can't remember) in them to produce better goats. Zegna is pretty much alone in trying to get standards up. Most companies pay for cashmere by weight and it is all thrown in together. In such a scenario, the herders are given incentive to increase volume of production, not raise quality (that's why the goats have been crossed with angora and whatever else). Lastly the mass-producers of cheap cashmere are seperate from those dedicated to producing only high quality goods. Zegna doesn't get any money from the high sales volume of Generic Cashmere of China Corp. to help fund it's education initiatives and competitions for the betterment of cashmere. Who said communism never helped anything? "May thy sweater pill and fall apart at the seams." bleh I'm tired as hell. the post probably doesn't flow too well...
post #21 of 42
My favorite saying concerning this (courtesy of my mom): "I wish I could give poor people money and rich people taste."
post #22 of 42
GQG: I can sense your frustration, but quite frankly, your rant makes you sound like an elitist snob. If that's what you are, fine, but it doesn't help the logic of your argument. Rest assured that the high end will ALWAYS be high end and expensive, even if it varies or moves around. You can get ABS on a Chev Cavalier these days, but not a system like BMW's iDrive. Perhaps in a dozen years, but by then we'll all be floating around in aircars
post #23 of 42
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If I wanted to look like everyone else, I'd go back to shopping at gap.
True, but I know plenty of people who spend next to nothing on clothes, but are very individually stylish. On the other side of the coin, I know just as many people who throw piles of money at trends and labels, and end up looking like everyone else. Case in point, I recently attended a party thrown by, and for, the 'in crowd'. Plenty of money to throw around, no doubt, but three guys were wearing the exact same designer shirt. As we know, it's all about how you put it together.
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the day everyone starts wearing cashmere will be a sad day. It'll be yet another example of something that was once special being transformed in to ordinary.
I don't get it. If it reaches the stage where someone has the choice between an inexpensive wool sweater and an equally inexpensive cashmere sweater, and the cashmere sweater is more comfortable, why not? It's like saying, 'Man, it's a sad day now that everyone gets to sleep in a bed.'  Everything was a luxury once... Someone wearing a cheap cashmere sweater isn't going to make yours cheap too, and it's not going to make Zegna or Loro Piana throw up their hands and surrender. Once consumers as a whole start buying big - just like TVs, DVD players, and whatever - prices will go down, at all levels. No doubt, the big guns of the textile industry will keep researching and breeding to stay competitive, and for the price of your (X) micron designer sweater today, you'll get an (X minus 1) micron sweater in a few years. Everybody wins. Maybe vicuna or escorial will become the new cashmere. Progress in a capitalist society is, for want of a better word, good . In a communist society, we'd all be wearing sackcloth sweaters, and all the Kashmir goats would've been burned for fuel. We could change the name - if the fibers are thicker than some arbitrary number of microns, then we just call it something else. The schlubs get the comfort, the snobs get to keep the name. Pretty pointless, though. Most people just buy their clothes and wear them because they're comfortable, who cares if they think they're wearing super-high-grade cashmere when it's 'just' Land's End or BR? Who goes around saying, 'Hey, check out my cashmere sweater', anyway? If you know anyone like that, rich or poor, then they can be safely ignored. On a related (but less flamewar-inducing) note, does anyone have an opinion on Charles Tyrwhitt's 4-ply cashmere sweaters? The company's shirts are nice - at a discount - and I was considering picking up a cashmere v-neck when they have one of their inevitable half-price sales... Cheers, Nick.
post #24 of 42
well done Nick.
post #25 of 42
I think these gentleman have said most of what I'd say, but to respond to the one specific comment addressed at me:
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PStoller, your logic is flawed. A lot of the Chinese herd is of low quality. It's useless for production of the high quality stuff. You're not gonna breed kashmir goats that have some angora...in them to produce better goats. Zegna is pretty much alone in trying to get standards up. Most companies pay for cashmere by weight and it is all thrown in together. In such a scenario, the herders are given incentive to increase volume of production, not raise quality...
You're making the same mistake that you attribute to the volume Chinese producers: assuming that supply and demand is all about quantity, rather than quality. I don't debate most of the statements you've just made, but I don't think you've put all the pieces together correctly. The proliferation of low-quality cashmere does not have a negative impact on the demand for high-quality cashmere. On the contrary, it increases that demand. You, as a consumer, are an illustration of that point. Zegna is an illustration as a supplier. Any of the luxury goods companies whose reputation rests on selling superior goods knows that it can't be caught selling $800 sweaters that aren't appreciably better than widely-available $80 sweaters. What this adds up to is a higher demand for superior cashmere. There will have to be more of the good stuff, and the good stuff will have to be consistently better than it has been. That's exactly why Zegna is running its program. It wouldn't be doing it without seeing a substantial profit in it; Zegna understands the long-term rewards of its efforts. As Zegna's competitors figure it out, they'll get into the same game. The price differential in qualities of cashmere goes back to the suppliers. While there will always be some who rely on mass sales of cheap stuff, there will be others who understand the fiscal incentive to increase the quality of their herds, as well as the quantity. When other herders see Zegna-trained outfits getting more money per pound of yield, what do you think they're going to do? You seem to think that both consumers and producers are just going to give up and settle for Gap cashmere, simply because it's so common and cheap. Well, have you seen the market for luxury denim lately? And you think the newly democratic appeal of cashmere is going to kill the luxury market? It ain't gonna happen.
post #26 of 42
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Some people despise the idea that only the rich have access to some things, but that's the way of the world and I think it's a good thing.
Let them eat cake.  (And wear merino wool sweaters.)
post #27 of 42
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Let them eat cake.  (And wear merino wool sweaters.)
oh no, I love merino wool sweaters.
post #28 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well,well. This has been quite the lively discussion. Thank you all again for your opinions. Any recommendations on retail outlets/websites where I might find the best prices on quality cashmere? RCCH
post #29 of 42
RCCH: As there are no Last Calls or Off 5ths in the Seattle area, try the Clan Douglas (I'm not sure it's Clan Douglas, but it's Clan something) at the Nordstrom Racks up there. Forte's web site is www.cashmere.com. And you can always cruise Ebay and Bluefly. What color/style/size are you looking for?
post #30 of 42
Thread Starter 
Steve B, Thank you for your suggestion. I am planning to check out both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack,in lieu of Off 5th etc. I'm looking for a black v-neck sweater. Probably 2-ply.
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