Over the past few years I have been selling used cashmere on the internet on various well know auction websites and I have seen countless amounts of fake clothing. It mainly tends to be high end designer brands which are the target for counterfeiters as these are in high demand and are expensive. Brands including Stone Island, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Burberry etc are commonly cloned. Fraudsters will try to recreate anything from leather handbags to trainers and sweaters and everything in between. One thing which there is no shortage of is fake cashmere scarves. Read on to see how to identify a fake cashmere scarf and make sure you buy the real thing!
The Feel Test
After working in the used clothing industry for the past few decades you tend to develop a knack at identifying cashmere by the touch. Quite often I can define the composition of cashmere within a garment just by touching it.
Cashmere has a uniquely soft feel, unlike any other natural fibre on earth. Compared to wool which feels more coarse and rough. Cashmere fibres are extremely fine and delicate, whereas wool fibres are tough and hardy which can sometimes irritate peoples skin and cashmere should not.
Cashmere scarves are usually either woven or plaid. The plaid cashmere scarves tend to have more of a matted appearance, whereas the woven scarves have a weave similar to that found in a cashmere sweater or cardigan. Either way both styles should feel super soft.
The Bobble Test
Cashmere and other natural fibre bobbles after prolonged use, whereas synthetic man made material does not. The bobbles on cashmere scarves can usually be picked off an removed. The bobbles on synthetic scarves are difficult to remove and sometimes fake synthetic ‘cashmere’ scarves will become matted and not bobble at all.
This is not a fool proof way of identifying a fake cashmere scarf as a label can easily be attached to a scarf. Although fake cashmere scarves quite often have cheap looking labels which are poorly stitched to the scarf or stuck on. Other scarves will just have the words ‘cashmere’ on and no indication to the washing instructions or the full material composition.
The Burn Test
This is a great way to identify the presence of cashmere fibres within your scarf.
- Gather a pinch of cashmere fibres from your scarf .
- Roll them into a small ball and place them on a hard surface.
- Slowly burn the fibres with a flame.
- Cashmere will burn slowly and shrink then reduce when the flame is applied, this will create the smell of burning human hair. The ash will then turn to powder.
- Synthetic man made materials will smell like burning plastic and create black smoke, which will carry on burning after the flame is removed and will go hard
How It’s Described
Online sellers can be rather deceiving when describing there fake cashmere scarves. Sometime they will be called ‘cashmere scarf’ but if you look at the composition it only contains a small amount of cashmere. Other sellers will describe them as ‘cashmere touch or feel’, this usually means there is either very little cashmere or no cashmere present at all. Make sure it says 100% cashmere in the description.
Also be careful when buying pashmina scarves as these are meant to be pure light weight cashmere as the fibres are thinner, but a lot of pashmina scarves online are made of a mix of cashmere and silk or nylon and other silky man made materials.
The price is another indication of the scarfs authenticity as cashmere is expensive and it takes so long to gather. The average price of our used pure cashmere scarves is £25.00, so if you see a brand new cashmere scarf for sale for £9.99 then it is definitely not 100% cashmere and will not feel anything like the authentic product. Click here to view our range of pre loved cashmere scarves.
Under the Microscope
Examining the cashmere closely under a microscope is probably the most die hard way to identify authentic cashmere. The only problem with this is not everyone has a microscope and it can still be difficult to identify natural cashmere fibres under a focused lens as there are so many different man made synthetic materials to confuse you.
I don’t have any experience in viewing cashmere under a microscope myself so I have provided a few links below which delve into this subject more thoroughly.
So that’s it folks! I hope this guide helps you in some way to steer well clear of those shoddy fake cashmere scarves that are flooding the market. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer your question!