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A Guide to some of the finest fabrics in today’s fashion industry


Silk is known as one of the most luxurious fabrics. It is actually produced from the cocoon of mulberry silkworm larvae. Another form, “wild silk” is produced from caterpillars. 1,000 yards of raw silk can be produced from one cocoon. The reason that this luxurious fabric is expensive is because of the lengthy process and the delicate form of this fabric. The actual origin of silk originates all the way back to 6000 BC when the wife of the Yellow Emperor (Xi Ling-Shi) noticed the threads attached to the worms that were eating the leaves of plants. While historians are not positive on the exact length of time it took for her to realize how that the cocoons could be spun into silk, one story gives a small peak of how she realized that the thread could be spun into silk. One morning, as the wife sat down to drink her tea; she dropped a cocoon into her cup. As she dropped it into her cup, she watched it unravel into threads of silk. Since then, China actually began their trade of silk for thousands of years after.

Silk arrives in America

Silk wasn't introduced to America until about the 17th century. Since early settlers were unable to afford the expensive cloth, synthetic forms of the luscious threads were created. Most of these synthetics lacked the beauty that original silk had, and were poorly dyed and didn't have the shimmer that pure silk possessed.

Silk today

In today’s high-fashion world, silk is widely available in almost every country. Some forms of silk can keep one warm during the extreme cold winters, while other types of silk can sweep away the moisture on a hot summer’s day. Most can describe the feel of silk as luxurious and smooth, as it ripples like the waves in water. Fashion designers use silk to design exquisite dresses and sexy lingerie. When consumers purchase items with silk, they are often those used for a special occasion or to spice up a particular moment.

Caring for silk

All silk items should be handled gently, allowing them to not be folded in the same places to avoid creases. Silk clothing should be hand-washed and air-dried, allowing it to keep its shape and feel.



Wool originates from sheep, goats and llamas. It is a natural fiber that has been known to be used since 3000 B.C. Wool is durable, and is often used to design warm and soft blankets and durable clothing. It is one of the most universal fibers that have been widely used for garments and household linens. While it is often used for clothing in the fashion industry, it also has been used in the textile business for carpeting, insulation and felt. Wool has also been used to create expensive suits too. It was readily available before silk or cotton and has been around since the goats and sheep have been domesticated. In earlier times, wool was actually reserved for the upper class, as it was considered a luxury, being one of the only finest fabrics around.


Unlike silk, wool is stronger and has the ability to stretch when it is woven. It also is able to regain its shape after being stretched unlike cotton or silk. One type of fine wool is known as Merino. Merino comes from the finest grades of Merino sheep. It is soft delicate wool that can be worn close the skin without discomfort. If an item has been designed with Merino, it is a high-quality article that has been made with the very best fine wool.


Wool has been used to produce soft and durable clothing such as skirts, suits, sweaters and pants. It can be harvested organically, giving people less of a chance for any type of wool allergies. Its soft feel and texture make it a popular choice among fashion designers and consumers.



Cashmere was originally produced in Central and Southwest Asia in the Himalayan regions. Its name comes from Kashmir, a region that is now in northern India. In the 19th century, that specific area became known for its fine shawls in Europe.

Cashmere is harvested from cashmere goats, which also live in mountainous areas located in China and Mongolia. The goats can survive in some of the most adverse conditions, growing thick coats so they can survive cold winters. In the spring season, their coats are combed to reach the under-layer of the cashmere fibers. The fibers of the Cashmere goat are finer than some of the finest wools known. The fibers create fabrics that are soft and lofty. In the early twentieth century, cashmere sweaters began gaining more popularity. Soon after, cashmere pillows and even slippers began being produced.


Cashmere should be handled gently and carefully. It is ideal to hand wash items while others are instructed to be dry-cleaned. It is important to follow the care instructions of any type of cashmere item so that it will not get damaged. All stains should be spot-treated immediately to prevent further harm to the fabric. Cashmere does not to be washed after every wear, unless it is necessary. Constant washing of cashmere can take away the quality and keep it from looking new. Never wash cashmere in hot water. Use cold or luke-warm water and a mild detergent such as baby shampoo. After washing, excess water should be squeezed out, but do not wring.

Cashmere clothing or fabrics should be laid down flat to dry. When storing any type of cashmere clothing, fold neatly, keep in a cool place or put in a breathable container and away from sunlight. Consumers who take proper care of their cashmere clothing can expect it to last for several seasons at a time.


If you are able to own clothing or textiles created with some of the industry’s most top fabrics, consider yourself lucky, as most come at a high price. Some companies do offer discounts to retail stores, which in return can offer more affordable prices to their customers. If you want quality clothing that can last longer, the price is worth it in the long run.

By looking through today’s popular fashion magazines, you can see many clothing lines that have been enhanced with wool, silks or cashmere. They are found along the cat-walk as well as popular top retail chains. When you are looking for quality and to impress, you may choose these fabrics as your first choice, as they certainly can make an impression with their lasting touch or shimmer

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