Where everything starts...

The story of Frank|Fiona started with my trip to Nepal where I had the opportunity of witnessing first-hand the entire process of making cashmere products, from the first stage of collecting the fibers from these beautiful goats to the factories in the cities where local artisans put their skills to use, skills that are passed from generation to generation since the Mughal Empire. I fell in love instantly with every step of this process and with the final product itself, so I decided to work closely on the design of the shawls, ponchos, wraps, and blankets.

Cashmere, also known as the fiber of kings, is one of the softest fibers found in nature, obtained from the “Capra Hircus” goat, locally called Chyangra, that lives in the high mountains of the Himalayas at 10.000 to 15.000 feet.
In order to survive the harsh temperatures, these goats develop an undercoat of superfine and long fibers beneath their coarse hair. These fibers are concentrated on the underbelly and chest, and they work as one of the best natural insulation in the world. Due to this fibers’ unique fine composition, the cashmere products are delicate and lightweight, yet absolutely warm. Wearing them on your skin allows you to experience the sublime sensation of being literally caressed by its exotic fibers.

I am really grateful for having had the opportunity to see this entire process where every step is a work of art by itself. As the best things in life, nature plays a major part.

The process:
During the spring molting season (May, June), the first stage begins: "Collecting the Fibers". The Chyangra goat naturally sheds that undercoat that was developed during the winter and we, humans, begin to play our part. The local farmers hand-comb the underbellies and chests of the goats looking for that precious fibers, then they sort it by hand and carefully separate the soft fine undercoat from the thick coarse hair. One thing is important: this delicate and skillful method does not harm the animals in any way, and the proof of that is that new fibers can be collected from the same goat every year.
Once we have the fibers from the undercoat separated from the coarse hair it is time for "washing" them with a mixture of rice and water that makes them even softer. Then the fibers are spun by hand into thin yarns in a process that requires immense patience and dedication.
The next step is the "weaving" stage, and this requires great knowledge and expertise. The cashmere fibers are 14 to 19 microns thick, one-sixth of the thickness of the human hair, so what makes them too fragile to be treated with power looms. Therefore, each product is made using hand looms, making each cashmere piece absolutely unique.
Now we have the product's shape but there is something else to do in order to obtain a high-quality product: the "fringe" stage. Designing and making the fringes is also an art that requires great skills in order to add a distinctive touch.
There are five colors that come naturally from the Chyangra goats: tan, light brown, dark brown, light gray and dark gray. In order to obtain any other color, another stage of the process is needed: "dyeing. This step is performed by hand, dyeing each piece individually since the smallest mistake will be reflected on the quality of the product. Dyeing is done for about an hour in pure water at a temperature just below the boiling point.

We could say the products are ready, but in Frank|Fiona we take an extra step. Why? Because we want to give our customers the opportunity to experience only superb quality. So, we submit every single piece to the thorough inspection of a cashmere Master who has the final word. Only the pieces approved by him are the ones that will be available for our customers.

The value:
It is a frequent question "Why is cashmere expensive compare to other fabrics"? The entire process of making these exclusive pieces demands knowledge, skills, patience, and art, and each step is made by hand and performed by generations of authentic artisans. It is a timeless classic product and when you buy a 100% Grade A cashmere piece you know it is not like any other in the world.
Another reason is the scarcity of supreme quality yarns. One Chyangra goat produces 4 to 6 ounces of pure cashmere per year, being the entire production in the world about 6.500 metric tons annually, compared to 2 million metric tons of sheep wool.
The eco-friendly, handmade and artistic process, together with the supreme quality of the materials involved in it and the scarcity of the real cashmere yarns, make this product a luxurious piece of art that will make you feel proud of your investment and will last you a lifetime.

Our mission:
Pure grade A cashmere products are synonym of luxury, class, and distinction, yet our purpose in Frank|Fiona is not only to guarantee supreme quality, but also to make it affordable, always within the limits of ethic and sustainability, making sure that our products comply with the environmentally friendly and free of child labor standards.

It is a great time to go back to our roots and live in communion with nature, with other human beings and with ourselves:
“There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness.” Mahatma Gandhi.

Thank you for visiting our shop and please let us know if you have any questions or comments about this beautiful art.

César Aloe - Owner.