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What's so special about Merino and Cashmere?

Merino and cashmere wool create amazing natural performance fabrics; that’s why our founder & designer Nick has used and continues to use both fabrics, throughout his career. 

Starting with his previous business, Vulpine, which made stylish commuter cycling clothing, he used Merino constantly. Uncannily, when you get hot it cools you and when you’re cool it warms you! It doesn’t make you smell either, like regular synthetic gear does.  So you’d stay dry, comfortable and not stink.

These properties are handy for loads of stuff we do! Who wants to be uncomfortable, or stink? Hence he’s dived deeper into merino & cashmere for FRAHM. Our new launches are very Merino and Cashmere heavy because they’re the pointy end of wool performance. Let us reveal more….

ORIGIN

Merino Wool comes from Merino Sheep who are reared mainly in high, inclement regions of Australia and New Zealand. Cashmere wool is sheered from Cashmere Goats reared in mountainous Central Asia. These animals are rare and specific. They can only be raised in specific, high, harsh conditions. Their rarity makes both fabrics super expensive (Cashmere more so because they’re harder to raise and the fibres even finer). Nevertheless, both Merino and Cashmere are major investments that will last you yonks if well cared for. 

 


 EVOLUTION BEATS CHEMISTRY

The harsh environments you find merino sheep & cashmere goats in are clues to why they have such mazing properties. They are natural performance materials because evolution has created protective measures to prevent these amazing animals dying of heat exhaustion or hypothermia. The fibres are naturally anti-bacterial (hence they’re odour-resistant) so the poor animal doesn’t rot, literally.

Biological evolution beats the man-made chemistry of synthetic fabrics.

Think about it, if you’re a sheep/goat you can’t take off your coat, nor can you have a nice hot shower (at least this has never been observed…) So you (the sheep/goat!) need a functioning outer to protect you in wild differing environments.

CLEVER FIBRES, COMFY HUMANS

For us, this makes them ultra comfy and genuinely superb technical adventure kit. Plus, and let’s not understate this, VERY odour resistant, meaning they don’t need much washing and you can arse about in the wilds of your local forest, office or pub, paranoia free.

Did we mention comfy? Wool is notoriously itchy. This isn’t just borrrring sheep wool here. There are considerable differences. Specifically in hair size. Merino hairs are very fine, indeed ultra fine. Cashmere even more so. So, they don’t itch. They’re silky. It’s bonkers.

Incredible fabrics.

THIS IS SERIOUS

For Nick, what determines a fabric being labelled as ‘performance’ is when a piece of clothing helps in genuinely risky situations or environments. Remember Ventile® and the fighter pilots? Similarly, Merino and Cashmere have a long history been prized by those exploring, mountaineering, fishing & even (its not pleasant, but my god it was harsh) whaling. High performance wool stops you getting hypothermia, even when wet, from sea spray, or sweat. When you’re 8,000ft up, with no spare clothing, that’s a life or death solution.

 

 CAREFUL, I’M DELICATE

As always, we like to be honest about the limitations of fabrics. Even ones we use ourselves. Merino and Cashmere is incredible, but it will snag if you catch it against a nail or snow lion’s tooth. So no, you wouldn’t “drag it through brambles”, as we’re fond of saying at FRAHM. Luckily, wool garments are easily darned, and weirdly suit it. Don’t chuck snagged knitwear!

Merino & cashmere also hate incorrect washing. They shrink and lose their properties if the natural protective oils are lost. As long as our plain English instructions are followed, these will last an age. Nick has merino garments that he’s worn hundreds of times, that are over a decade old…

Taking proper care for Merino and Cashmere is super important, because it’s an investment. They’re not cheap, but damn they’re good. No, superb.

Neither Merino or Cashmere require regular washing, unlike most performance fabrics. But at some point you will want to wash it delicately. Most garments can be hard-washed cool, with non-bio or soap flakes. Never use conditioner on FRAHM Jackets or knitwear. You can rinse conditioner off a jacket no problem, but not wool. Bad washing strips the amazing oils from the material. Don’t spin it because it will felt and dry it flat. 

CARE SUMMARY

Occasional is fine. Hand wash. Delicate soap. No conditioner. Light or no spin. Dry flat.

 FRAHM KNITWEAR

Our jackets are designed to take jumpers and add extra layers which compliment them. For example, the Scottish ¼ Zip Merino Jumper is a slimmer design and the Merino Crew Neck Jumper is a midweight, chunkier design. They are both great for extending the temperature range of your jackets. Or just wearing in the shed (watch those nails!)

Similarly Cashmere and Merino scarves & beanies are not just cosy nice to haves. They add to the performance of a jacket by closing off your neck so heat doesn’t escape and repelling water. They’re a further seal. Not only is a jacket well accessorised by these items, but it’s always a good practical idea as well as a style thing.

Do have an (odour-free) nosy at our new jumpers and wooly accessories. Invest in the best, as someone in advertising once said, in a scratchy synthetic suit.

 

Take care, 

All at FRAHM

 

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