Protecting Cashmere’s Supply Chain
Meet Mongolian-born designer Oyuna Tserendorj. Oyuna founded her eponymous brand in 2002 with the aim to design thoughtfully, using the world’s most luxurious natural material – Mongolian cashmere.
Cashmere, the ‘diamond of fibres’, represents 4bn of the 60bn global luxury market. Demand keeps on growing creating a vicious circle that is weakening Mongolia’s cashmere supply while wrecking its natural environment.
OYUNA’S TED TALK
INSPIRATION BEHIND OYUNA
Abstract contemporary art plays an essential part in the brand’s aesthetic.
WHERE DOES CASHMERE COMES FROM
The fibres come from the undercoat of cashmere goats in the Asian steppes of Mongolia and inner-Mongolia (China).
Why do we call it the ‘diamond fibre’?
- Cashmere fibres are 10 times thinner than human hair
- The fibres are hollow which allows them to regulate temperature in a natural way
- It takes 3 to 4 goats to make one garment > the process is extremely laborious, each fibre is 1.5 to 2 cm.
CASHMERE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Mongolian herders respect the land and used to manage cashmere goats in a very smart way. But the global commercial demand led to nomad wanting and needing more goats which led to overgrazing and desertification of the land.
Overgrazing & Desertification
Overgrazing can be defined as the practice of grazing too many livestock for too long a period on land unable to recover its vegetation, or of grazing ruminants on land not suitable for grazing as a result of certain physical parameters such as its slope. Overgrazing exceeds the carrying capacity of a pasture. However there may be other factors involved or contributing to apparent overgrazing such as climate change.
Desertification is the process of land turning into desert as the quality of the soil declines over time.
SUSTAINABLE FIBRE ALLIANCE
Degradation of land in Mongolia is severe: 1 to 15% of land area. Keep in mind Mongolia is 3 times the size of France.
“100% sustainability is impossible to achieve. Sustainability starts with humans. Otherwise, who else can take care of the land” Oyuna Tserendorj
Focus on 3 areas:
- Secure the livelihood of herders
- Improve animal welfare
- Reduce environmental impact
What is SFA certified cashmere?
Fibres are responsibly sourced and responsibly produced (clean processes, no harmful chemicals, water consumption).
Fibres are traced using transaction certificates from herders to the brands.
SFA-certified cashmere fibres differ from non-certififed fibres in that they have been harvested following traditional nomadic herding practices. By purchasing SFA-certified cashmere, you help secure herders’ livelihoods.
Discover the work of the Sustainable Fibre Alliance
OYUNA’S TIPS TO BUY CASHMERE RESPONSIBLY
- Make sure to be inform. Educate yourself.
- Discover and learn about a brand. Go a step further.
- Buy less and buy quality garments
- If you cannot afford an expensive cashmere garment, look into recycled cashmere.