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Is there such a thing as a "Discount" store for Scottish cashmere?

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Is there such a thing as a "Discount" store for Scottish cashmere?

Old Jun 26th, 2007, 09:14 PM
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Is there such a thing as a "Discount" store for Scottish cashmere?

My dearest friend is leaving for a house exchange in Scotland. Given how dismal the exchange rate is, we figure that it will be difficult to find any affordable cashemere at the regular retail stores. Is there such a thing as an Outlet or a Discount branch of any of the Scottish manufacturers?
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Old Jun 26th, 2007, 11:29 PM
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Have a look at this article
http://tinyurl.com/2wglv4
I quote from it: "Britain has enjoyed a mini cashmere boom, with stores including Marks and Spencer, Gap and Primark offering budget items in the usually expensive fabric.

Tesco's shelves were rapidly cleared in 2005 when it offered a cashmere sweater for £25. A similar top quality item would cost nearer £300"

It's really the wrong time of year, but Marks and Spencer have a few items at the moment between £70 and £80
I don't know about the other shops mentioned, but you could have a look.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 01:14 AM
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What do you mean by Scottish cashmere?

Practically all the knitwear sold by "Scottish" brands is made - obviously - from Mongolian or (more often these days) Inner Mongolian cashmere. Most of it is knitted in China, too - though if you've some unaccountable determination to pay through the nose for knitwear knitted in Europe by less competent people, it's a requirement in Britain for brands apparently European to carry a "made in..." label. Though why anyone would want to pay more for poorer quality is beyond me.

If you can't find value for money cashmere at an ordinary High Street chain like M+S or Primark (and it'll probably be too early for a month or so), the best outlet mall in Scotland is Livingston Designer Outlet (www.mcarthurglen.com).

However, there's precious little else to recommend Livingston to a visitor, and I'd never ask any friend of mine to traipse there if I wanted them to remain a friend.

I'd just buy the stuff in the US.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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My experience in trying to buy cashmere in Britain is that I always find it cheaper in the U.S. The last time I bought something was when the exchange rate was much friendlier.

You can find less expensive cashmere at places such as Marks & Spencer or even some of the outlets ( Johnsons in Elgin),but you'll usually find the quality of the cashmere is inferior.

Store such as Lands End and J.Crew have sweaters for about $140. I've seldom seen anything to compare with that overseas.

However, if you're willing to really splurge, you can get some beautiful pieces. The styles available are far superior to what you'll find here.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 06:47 AM
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A few of the J. Crew cashmeres use Loro Piana yarn.


There are many many varieties and qualities of cashmere...when I think of the best quality sweaters I think of companies like Tse in the US, Malo, Agnona, and Loro Piana in Italy, and Pringle and Ballantyne in Scotland. J. Crew and Land's End do not compare to these brands in my opinion; many of their cashmeres are two ply.

Are the sweaters from Pringle and Ballantyne still made in Scotland?
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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ekscrunchy,

That was exactly the point I was trying to make. I guess I wasn't clear enough.

The J. Crew and Lands End cashmere can't compare to the higher quality cashmeres. The same will be true of any bargin cashmere. You will not find the high quality cashmeres for a bargin price.

Regardless of thinking you're finding a bargin in Britain, you'll find that you can get the same thing here and probably for less.

I'm no expert on cashmere, but I think the quality not only relates to the ply number but is also determined by where on the goat the 'wool' is taken. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 07:25 AM
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Does anyone know if the sweaters from Pringle and Ballantyne are made in Scotland? I have always thought they were considered to be very fine.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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HT: I am sorry if it seemed that I was disputing you. I think you are correct about where the wool comes from..maybe the belly of the animal? Or maybe I am confusing cashmere goats with the Himalayan goats whose wool produces those celebrated shatoosh shawls.... I have no idea!! True, there is just no comparison between the top quality cashmere garmets and those from the mass market catalog companies.. And to think my grandmother used to buy great cashmere sweaters for $8 at S. Klein!! Believe it or not, those sweaters from so long ago have not pilled with years and years of use...my sister and I still have them!!

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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Pringle's is still a UK based company and their 1815 line includes some cashmere items aimed at a more youthful look, less pricey for the pocketbook. Their stuff looks a little "golfey" to me, but depending who you want your cashmere for maybe thats fine..You can Google for your preferred retailer but I recall Pringle as being fairly ubiquitous in Inverary, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 11:23 AM
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The New York Times mentioned today that Nigella Lawson wears Brora Scottish cashmeres on her cooking shows; according to the Times these cost about $300.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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Wow, I just checked out Brora's online offerings versus Stewart's Pringle stuff. Brora has them beat on both price and style and, at the 99 pounds, I saw quoted, I think some of those cashmere sweaters were a steal. Just a shame you don't have to go to Scotland to get them!
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Looks like they are having a sale! But they all look rather thin, don't they...?
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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If you want some real fine Scottish woolen goods, skip the cashmere, which others do better and cheaper, and get either a beautifully patterned Fair Isle sweater from the Shetland Islands. These are real handcrafts, made with a fascinating technique, not machine made and "hand finished" (i.e., a few final stitches). You'll pay a lot more than £99, though -- that would probably work out to 50p an hour!
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Thin? the models or the sweaters? If Nigella is wearing them they can't be made for Twiggy (now who is the contemporary comparison?)
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 12:24 PM
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I meant the sweaters were thin, as in not those glorious multi-plies...but Nigella certainly looks great in them!
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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ekscrunchy,

I know exactly what you mean by 'thin'. Invariably one gets what they pay for. If there are bargins, there's a reason for the discount.

I guess I'm going to have to google cashmere to find out more. I thought it was the 'wool' under the chin of the goat that was the best quality.
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Old Jun 27th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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The ones I like the bet are those really heavy sweaters by the companies I named above...There used to be a shop in Paris..maybe Richard Grand or something like that, that sold the most amazing 6-ply ribbed cashmeres with detachable cowl necks. I bought two in the early 1980s and they look great still... Those and otehr high quality sweaters bear almost no resemblance to the cashmeres sold for one or even two hundred dollars...or at least that is my view. It is just like the confusion about "pashmina.' I agree..you usually get what you pay for!! I also agree that I would rather have a great Fair Isle or Aran sweater than a junky cashmere. (Even though my closet is crammed with all sorts of "bargains!")
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