The information on this page has been obtained
Federal Trade Commission in December 2004 (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/cashmere.htm).
This information may be dated and we suggest you contact the FTC
for information regarding the most current and accurate information.
Cashmere. The word evokes
images of luxury, warmth and softness. The ultra-fine wool,
from the undercoat of the Cashmere (or Kashmir) goat, is indeed
a premium fiber - one that generally commands a much higher
price than sheep's wool.
If you manufacture or sell clothing or household
items that contain any wool, including specialty wools like
cashmere, camel hair, mohair, alpaca, llama, or vicuna, you
must comply with the Wool Products Labeling Act. That means
your product labels must accurately reflect the items' fiber
content, the country of origin, and the name of the manufacturer
or marketer. Apparel items also must be labeled to show a safe
Fiber Content Disclosure
Product labels must reflect the true fiber content of the item.
For example, if a sweater is made of wool, it can be labeled
as 100% Wool, assuming it contains only wool. Likewise,
if a sweater is made only of cashmere, it can be labeled as
100% Cashmere. Cashmere is a type of wool and also
can be labeled as wool. If a sweater contains cashmere
mixed with sheep's wool, and the label refers to cashmere, the
label must accurately disclose the content, e.g., 80% Wool,
20% Cashmere. It would be illegal to say simply Cashmere
or Cashmere blend; the percentages must be stated. There
is only one exception to the requirement that percentages be
stated: the word All can be used in place of 100%
if the product is made of only one fiber, e.g., All Wool
or All Cashmere.
If a claim about the fiber content appears
elsewhere on the garment, such as on a hangtag or a sleeve label,
it must mirror the garment's fiber content label. For example,
a coat labeled 50% Cashmere, 50% Wool cannot have a
hangtag or a sleeve label stating merely FINE CASHMERE GARMENT
or FINE CASHMERE BLEND. In this instance, the hangtag
or sleeve label also must say 50% Cashmere, 50% Wool
- in equally conspicuous lettering.
The Textile Act allows a three percent tolerance
for fiber content claims, but the Wool Products Labeling Act
doesn't. However, the Wool Act says that deviation from the
stated fiber content is not considered mislabeling if it results
from "unavoidable variations" in the manufacturing
process that occur despite the exercise of due care. For this
reason, the FTC generally will apply the three percent tolerance
to wool products. The three percent tolerance does not allow
for intentional mislabeling. No tolerance is allowed for a 100%
claim, as the addition of another fiber would always be intentional.
Testing is Important
You're responsible for label accuracy, even if you import, distribute
or sell wool products manufactured by another company. You cannot
necessarily rely on an invoice statement that the goods contain
a specified amount of cashmere. Routine testing of fiber contents
by a qualified, independent testing lab is the best assurance
of accurate labels.
A trained expert, using an optical or electron
microscope, can distinguish between cashmere fibers and sheep's
wool fibers, following procedures established by the American
Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) or the
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The basic
distinction is not only one of diameter, as some sheep have
now been bred to produce ultra fine fibers - with a diameter
comparable to that of cashmere fibers. There are significant
differences in the scale structure of the two fibers, and that
is what the test expert looks for under the microscope.
Guaranty of Compliance
If you buy and resell wool or cashmere products, you can ask
your U.S. supplier for a "guaranty of compliance."
The guaranty is a written statement on a product invoice or
other dated document that states: "We guarantee that the
wool products specified herein are not misbranded under the
provisions of the Wool Products Labeling Act and rules and regulations
In other words, the supplier guarantees
that the wool and cashmere products sold to you are correctly
labeled under the Wool Labeling Act. The guaranty must have
the name and address of the guarantor. A "continuing guaranty",
which covers all wool products sold by the guarantor, also can
be filed with the FTC. Filing such a guaranty is an assurance
by the guarantor that all of its products covered by the Wool
Act are correctly labeled. A buyer who in good faith relies
upon a properly executed guaranty will not be found in violation
of the law if the goods are later determined to be mislabeled.
Note, that good faith means acting
prudently and not ignoring an indication (such as price or appearance)
that an item may not be accurately labeled.
A special note about guaranties
and foreign companies: A foreign company cannot file
a continuing guaranty with the FTC. In addition, a guaranty
from a foreign company is not a legal defense if the importer
is charged with mislabeling products. A U.S. importer is legally
responsible for the proper labeling of imported textile and
wool products. Importers should test the fiber content of imported
goods periodically to verify the accuracy of the label.
How Posh is Pashmina?
The popularity of products marketed as pashmina - an
Indian word for cashmere - has skyrocketed in recent
years; yet most consumers aren't sure what pashmina
is. That's not surprising, as pashmina is not a labeling
term recognized by the Wool Act and rules. Experts tell the
FTC there is no pashmina fiber that is separate and
distinct from the cashmere fiber.
Some manufacturers use the term pashmina
to describe an ultra fine cashmere fiber; others use the term
to describe a blend of cashmere and silk. The FTC encourages
manufacturers and sellers of products described as pashmina
to explain to consumers, on a hangtag, for example, what they
mean by the term.
As with all other wool products, the fiber
content of a shawl, scarf or other item marketed as pashmina
must be accurately disclosed. For example, a blend of cashmere
and silk might be labeled 50% Cashmere, 50% Silk or
70% Cashmere, 30% Silk, depending upon the actual cashmere
and silk content. If the item contains only cashmere, it should
be labeled 100% Cashmere or All Cashmere.
The label cannot say 100% Pashmina,
as pashmina is not a fiber recognized by the Wool Act or regulations.
Dry clean only? Many cashmere items are
labeled Dry Clean Only. If your label says Dry
Clean Only, you are telling consumers that the item can't
be washed safely. To be accurate, you must have proof that the
garment will be harmed by washing.
The truth is that many cashmere items can
be washed safely at home. A label that says Dry Clean
does not warn against washing and does not require proof that
washing would harm the item.
For clothing that may be washed or dry cleaned,
you must give instructions for at least one cleaning method.
Of course, you may provide information about both cleaning methods.
Consumers are telling the FTC that's what they want. Many consumers
prefer to wash items that can be laundered at home.
Or call the Textile Information Line: 202-326-3553
(contains recorded information about textile, wool and RN matters)
For copies of this and other publications,
contact: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission,
Washington, DC 20580; toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
For more information about cashmere and
other specialty wool products, contact:
Cashmere & Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute, 230 Congress
Street, Boston, MA 02110-2409;
he FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent,
deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace
and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and
avoid them. To file a
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free information on consumer issues, visit
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