Bespoke suits: The world’s leading fabrics

13th August 2014
Katie Kwok

Worldsleadingfabric Inside Article

At Senszio, we use the world’s leading natural fibers to craft our bespoke suits. That means Merino wool from Australia, cashmere from Mongolia, silk from China and Vicuña from South America.

Merino wool

Australia is home to around 70 million sheep, making it the world’s leading producer and exporter of wool. The finest wool in Australia comes from Merino, a breed that forms around 80% of the sheep population.

Merino wool’s natural qualities make it well-suited to high-end bespoke suits. It has natural breath-ability, is warm in winter and cool in summer, drapes well and is hard to crease. Merino is tough to stain and maintains its color.

Mongolian cashmere

What about cashmere? For the world’s finest, you can thank the nomadic herders who tend Mongolian goats. Mongolia has a tough climate and the fleece of cashmere goats is thick and long with a fine-down undercoat.

Every spring, the down is combed out and three or four ounces of cashmere are taken from each goat. This is barely enough for half a sweater, when an ordinary sheep offers enough wool for up to four sweaters. No wonder a pair of cashmere pyjamas costs about $1,000.

Chinese silk

The finest silk comes from the ancient Chinese, who kept the secret from the world by sentencing anyone to death who smuggled worms or eggs out of the country. Silkworms spew out thread from their jaws and spin it into cocoons to hold their eggs. They can produce up to 1200 silken threads in just 72 hours and lay at least 500 eggs every spring. It’s a production line that’s unlikely to break down any time soon. Chinese silk produces outstanding-quality bespoke suits.

Vicuña wool

But possibly the most luxurious fabric in the entire world is the coat of the South American Vicuña, a relative of the llama. It’s a rare and endangered animal and harvesting its coat is by no means easy, which is why vicuña wool is the world’s most expensive.

Vicuña wool is also very warm, as its scales interlock and trap insulating air. Vicuña wool tends to be sold in its natural color as it’s sensitive to chemical treatment.

In 1974, the Vicuña population fell to about 6,000. This number has risen to around 125,000 since the species has been protected under Peruvian law. One Vicuña produces just a pound of wool every year and it can be harvested only every three years. No wonder a yard of Vicuña wool can cost up to US$3,000.