Designer Creates Eco-Friendly Vegan Cashmere Made From Plants

'Cashmere is a luxury item. Mass-producing cashmere at a cheap price point is terribly unsustainable and detrimental to animals and the earth'
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The fabric offers a more sustainable - and kinder - alternative to animal cashmere (Photo: Supplied)

The fabric offers a more sustainable - and kinder - alternative to animal cashmere (Photo: Supplied)

The founder of a dancewear brand has created vegan cashmere - made from vegetables.

Cashmere, which is typically made from goat hair, has hit the headlines over the last year, as high street brands including ASOS have ditched it due to animal cruelty concerns following a major exposé of the industry.

Vegetable cashmere

Now David Lee, a former dancer in the Oakland Ballet Company and founder of dancewear brand KD New York, has created an animal-friendly solution.

His 'Vegetable Cashmere'™ is 'a proprietary blend developed to address the increased demand for cashmere and the associated environmental costs'.

According to Lee, the vegan alternative 'matches animal cashmere in softness with superior drape and breathability'. It also has anti-bacterial qualities and is machine-washable without shrinkage.

According to Lee, the fabric offers 'superior drape and breathability' compared to animal cashmere (Photo: Supplied)

According to Lee, the fabric offers 'superior drape and breathability' compared to animal cashmere (Photo: Supplied)

Developing the fabric

Lee started developing the cashmere by collaborating with a factory experimenting with soy-based yarns. In a bid to replicate the look and feel of animal cashmere, a blend was developed using soy, and a proprietary blend of fibers. The plants used in the material are all certified organic, and the soybean fiber is made from reclaimed byproducts of the organic soy industry, which would otherwise be discarded.

While Lee says no textile can be considered perfectly sustainable, he has created the blend to have minimal impact on the environment. The manufacture requires economical use of energy and water.

In addition, Vegetable Cashmere™ is also biodegradable — reducing environmental impact throughout each garment's entire lifecycle.

Lee has launched a Kickstarter campaign as he brings the product to market (Photo: Supplied)

Lee has launched a Kickstarter campaign as he brings the product to market (Photo: Supplied)

Luxury item

"Cashmere is a luxury item," Lee said in a statement sent to Plant Based News. "Mass-producing cashmere at a cheap price point is terribly unsustainable and detrimental to animals and the earth.

"I have been working on an Earth and animal-friendly alternative for over five years. We are now ready to roll out our first Vegetable Cashmere™ athleisure collection through a Kickstarter campaign."

You can find out more about the Kickstarter campaign, which features KD New York athleisure styles made with Vegetable Cashmere, here