Can someone advice me what can l expect from Fedeli cashmere? l see they have a store in most prestigious street in Milan, and their prices are about 50% cheaper than Loro Piana or Brunello Cucincelli ..
Cashmere Sweater Hierarchy - Page 5
With cashmere, it is best to stick to makers who have built their reputations on cashmere. These include Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli, Cruciani, the well known scottish makers, etc.
Though Hermes or Turnbull & Asser are not cashmere makers, you can probably trust their stuff, because of their extreme high-end reputations that they dare not tarnish by sourcing inferior products. But as you move down the list, it is more risky.
Is B. Cucinelli as expensive as LP? It doesn't fit me well so I don't recall. But if LP is too expensive, try Cruciani.
Beware that the Cruciani items on yoox in my experience are less impressive than those I've found in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, though still a decent value considering the cheaper price. Still good quality but not as fine/impeccable.
Seems like no one heard of Fedeli, yet they have a very nice boutique in Via Montenapoleone street in Milan, where the Loro Piana and other high quality brands are positioned. Actually, l don't know how l heard of them, quess l was lurking the web and among all those brands l found them too, and started investigating ..
They have a few nice things, though, their sweaters and cardigans appear to be a little raw in look compared to those of LP and BC. Sorry, english is not my first language, so my expression is somehow limited. Their 100% cashmire sweaters are around 550 USD. As I could tell from their page, they are specialized in cashmere products only, but l couldn't' find their products on ebay or styleforum, guess they are not so popular.
Here is their web page, they have on line shop too.
l was comparing the prices between Brunello C. and Loro Piana, and BC appears to be around 20-30% cheaper for the same cashmere sweater. For example LP sweater in Milan are around 1.300 USD, and Brunello C. are around 1.000 USD. The prices are for 100% turtleneck sweaters. But LP has the edge on colors IMHO. And they are using that super soft baby cashmere, where BC sticks to regular cashmere, also, as l heard BC buys regular cashmere from Loro Piana family too ..
So, to sum it up, LP is the most expansive, BC is around 30% cheaper and Fedeli is at least 50% cheaper than LP. l am going to LP outlet this fall, hope l will find some good deals there for 50% off the price. Here is the cardigan with fur from Fedeli l liked, don't know about the price ..
Yeah, their website is strange, and looks modest in the wrong way as far as lm concerned.
Well, l'm not shure should l gamble with some brand like Fedeli that no one heard of, or go directly to Loro Piana outlet and buy the real deal at about 50% off selling price. The way l look on this purchase is like investment. These LP cashmere sweaters are supposed to last at least 20 years if taken care of, maybe even a life time. l'm after the pure classic design, and highest quality material, so when l think again l'm leaning toward the confirmed brand, like you mentioned, and LP is in top as we all know.
Not to mention that several times l regretted my decision on buying some mid-range products, and wish l added more money and bought the thing l really liked. So, from now-on, l'm saving the cash for something l will truly enjoy.
RL cashmere is made in China. The technology gap between European makers and Chinese makers has narrowed in the recent past and there are some good-to-better Chinese makers out there. However, the Chinese houses are infamous for adding synthetic materials or other fibers (like wool) to elongate fibers. The result is often a softer product, due to the cheaper, over-washed materials used; don't think soft cashmere is superior. I generally avoid Chinese fibers as there is no way to know where it was actually made, what QC processes are in place, etc.
But, what about the RL 100% cahsmere sweaters that are "made in China of Italian yarn"?
Do you still have to worry about the Chinese houses adding other fibers to those sweaters if the yarn is Italian?
This question brings up a couple of points:
First, a garment's (or fabric's) country of origin does not immediately infer quality. Especially given advancements in technology and the proliferation of information around the world, there are shops in China that can do "Italian" better than Italians can. While these artisans are very much the exception, it's worth noting that the gap is closing. You shouldn't apply the traditional theory of "China: Bad, Italy: Good." More so than where something is made, you need to focus on how it is made. This becomes quite tricky with larger brands (like RL) that contract a number of mills, makers and manufacturers. It's often the case that two sweaters from two seasons are completely different. Really just depends.
Second, better fibers do not a superior garment make. While nicer materials will inevitably drive up the cost of a garment and make it look or feel nicer, construction is still very much a factor. I'd say it's just as important as the fibers. Think of it like this: If you gave me a bolt of Loro Piana fabric and a bolt of generic "Made in Italy" fabric, and asked me to make you a garment, what would the result be? The LP garment would likely feel and look better, but, at the end of the day, both are made by someone who has no idea what they're doing. While fabric will add to the longevity of the garment, don't think that it's just absent-minded stitching that keeps it together. There are a number of techniques learned from years of working with different fabrics or fibers.
Typically Italian fibers are washed more thoroughly, yielding a softer hand. Unfortunately, the softest hand you'll find in cashmere comes from the cheapest fibers. So there's a very thin line between great and terrible. Really the only way to know is to wear it and see how it fairs. The problem with RL and larger brands, however, is that even if you find a sweater that lasts forever, you'll likely never be able to find the same sweater (in terms of manufacturer, mill, etc) again. It''s for this reason that I shy away from larger brands and stick to smaller or specialized makers that have a tradition of consistency.
I heard these Patagonias are made by an "affiliate" of Loro Piana/LVMH. Seems unlikely, no?
Edited by pluran - 2/7/14 at 4:59pm
i've picked up 30-40 cashmere sweaters in the last several years... many new, many not.
The range is all the way from Loro Piana and RLBL to Kenneth Cole (my wife and mother bought me the KC ones knowing my cashmere hobby)
After years of pretty heavy use i've definitely experienced a variety of quality and texture inconsistencies. The KC sweaters pill up quickly and along with a number of other sub $150 cashmere sweaters they wear through the elbows very very quickly. I've had some sweaters stitched up on a number of occasions until it became useless to do so. In every case like that it was made in china specials like the KC or similar brands... the new Saks stuff that you catch at the outlets falls into that category.
With that said, about 12 years ago i bought a pair of sweaters from Saks that were made in Scotland and even though my own lax care techniques have distorted them the material itself has held up extremely well... they would be the oldest items of clothing i have.
I havent had any of the higher end stuff (LP, RLBL) long enough to offer an opinion but for guys looking to get into this stuff I think you should also consider Gran Sasso. I have a couple pieces from them that have aged very well in 3-4 years that are really just hitting their stride in terms of softness and enjoyment.
I recently picked up a really nice made in china piece from Neiman Marcus from their house line that is probably my favourite piece i have right now and that would support the above comments that not all made in china stuff is garbage. This was a $700 NM piece though.
Some of the other scottish stuff i have really feels more like wool (itchy) despite saying 100% cashmere but other scottish stuff (lyle and scott for example) is quite nice. I just wish they would keep their silly logo off thier shirts. there is a gas station chain in Canada that uses the same logo
I have a thick 6+ ply Paul Stuart made in Italy cashmere cable knit sweater that stretches out noticeably after many wears (we're talking like 30+ wears), but when I wash it and lay it out to dry, it returns to its original shape.
I wash inside out in my kitchen sink in cool water (up to borderline luke warm) with a little Forever New soap for a few mins very lightly agitating/kneeding it (or whatever you want to call it), then drain the water, rinse with soap free water once or twice, and then lay out to dry on a towel.
For the super thick cable-knits, drying takes a million years if the air is humid.
I also made the mistake years ago of letting the sleeves hang off the table when flat drying them from wet. the sleeves stretched out quite a bit as a result.
live and learn I'm sure 20 years from now i'll still have a dozen or so of the pieces i have now in my rotation then save for the occasional lapse in care technique.
I have managed to get through the whole of Autumn/Winter 2013/14 with 2 navy v neck cashmere Hawick of Scotland sweaters, which are such good quality that I'm sure they'll last all of Autmn/Winter 2014/15 without having to buy any more!!
Loro Piana make the most gorgeous cashmere knitwear, but it spend so much on my bespoke wear that I can't afford it, and it's so beautiful but fragile that I'm sure it wouldn't last nearly as long as my 2 Hawick jumpers, which after a very long, cold, English winter still look brand new and haven't shrunk at all...
I doubt I'll get 3 winters out of them, but previously I wore John Smedleys, which are lovely jumpers, but went through 10 one winter!
The company very generously refunded 50% of the purchase price of 2 of the ones which had shrunk, but it are into my clothing budget too much, and I'm delighted with the quality of the Hawicks, and the classic style looks neat and tidy over my shirts