When we started our Avantgardress adventure, we were flashed by all those incredible stories and inspiring women behind the brands. How cool is it to wear beautiful fashion that even tells a story? That’s why we have decided that we absolutely need to share the behind the scenes stories that came across our way so far. Last time we were already portraying Henriette Pieszak, the woman behind the sustainable denim brand Pieszak (read the full story here).
Today we would like to share all we have learned about Madeleine Thompson and her cashmere universe.
The cashmere boss Madeleine Thompson was born and raised in London and Hong Kong. At university, she studied law and went straight from law into fashion PR. Afterward, she worked as a buyer in a major department store. Nowadays she is a successful businesswoman, a working mum and a role model to all of us.
STICKING TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
It all began in 2006, after struggling to find a beanie in stores with the right mix of slouch and elegance, Madeleine Thompson designed a cashmere beanie for herself. Her friends loved her beanie and began asking her to make one for them. Before long the word had spread, her beanie was seen on Sienna Miller. A Vogue editor asked Maddy where her beanies were stocked, which they weren’t so far. This was her light-bulb moment, that she realised she might have a business in the making. Her mission has been the same the whole way through: to design and manufacture amazing quality cashmere and to push the boundaries of how knitwear is made and worn.
THE DESIGN TWIST
Madeleine Thompson’s designs are a bold romp through color and pattern and are all about easy pieces and covetable style staples for off-duty moments. The styles combine quality and comfort and ensure that elegance is the cornerstone of everything. Madeleine lives most of the year in Hong Kong, and regularly visit London and LA so she draws inspiration from all of these places. Hence, she is very inspired by vintage sportswear and sports magazines and that contrast between working it in cashmere and keeping it with that edge. A cashmere piece by Madeleine Thompson can see you through from a Saturday brunch to a walk in the park, a Sunday evening TV night or a long-distance flight. Celebrities like such as Kate Moss, Rita Ora, Olivia Wilde, and Michelle Monaghan love Madeleine Thompsons styles too!
CRACKERS ABOUT CASHMERE
What is it about cashmere that makes it that much better than any other wools? We could talk about its origins – combed from the undercoat of the Mongolian Aerbasi, softer and finer than any other goat’s hair. We could talk about its natural properties - It breathes when you’re warm and keeps you so snuggly when it’s cold! We could even talk about how scarce it is in comparison to something like cotton – with 6,5 k tones vs 6000 k tones produced globally each year. But be careful when you are planning to buy a new cashmere sweater! Cashmere is all about Yarn quality. You can have a sweater made from 10% excellent Cashmere Yarn and 90% Merino that is better quality than other sweaters made from bad quality 100% Cashmere. Which is made from shorter fibers that are prone to snapping, which causes bobbling. It is sometimes difficult to find great cashmere. All of the Madeleine Thompson Yarn comes from Italy and is of the highest quality. They use 100% cashmere for the looser fitted pieces and a mix of cashmere, lambswool, and silk in the more structured pieces. Madeleine Thompson considers getting the right yarn mix almost a science. Wearing a Madeleine cashmere jumper is really the most versatile and wonderful way to wear clothes. It feels like a wellness treatment on your skin. That’s why we all love cashmere, right?!
CASHMERE CARE GUIDE
Throughout history, countless women and men have been felled by the simplest of oversights: not reading the care label. If there is one person that knows how to care and wash your little cashmere beauties – it would be knitwear Designer, Madeleine Thompson. This guide will help you maintain the quality of your cashmere sweaters. Put some music on and relax into it:
PILLS AND FUZZ
First of all, we would like to make this stereotype clear, pilling on cashmere is not a sign of poor quality or a design fault. As no matter, how good the quality is, cashmere will pill. It’s a natural characteristic of the long fibres, meaning that it both insulates and regulates temperature, and general wear and tear will cause bobbling. Once in a while brush it down with a good cashmere comb or de fuzzer. Avoid depilling precious cashmere pieces too often as this may result in holes.
This one is important! Never hang a cashmere sweater—it will cause shoulder dimples, and the pull of gravity will distort the overall shape. To keep dreaded moths at bay, we recommend hanging mothballs in your wardrobe. Hanging rosemary in your wardrobe is an effective organic alternative and of course, it smells better.
STEP 1 - Cashmere falls into the ominous hand wash the only category. The best way at home is to use a clean washbasin. Once clean, fill your sink or basin with cool water.
STEP 2 - For best results use the recommended amount of fine-garment detergent and briskly run your hand through the water to distribute the detergent and generate suds. Investing in a specialised fine garment detergent will maintain the sumptuous, sink-into quality of your cashmere pieces. We recommend Mr. Black Wool & Cashmere wash, although baby shampoo works equally well. Don’t scrub your sweater!
STEP 3 - Drain the sink and rinse your sweater with cool water until the water rinses clear. Press out the excess water, but do not wring the sweater. Instead, lay it flat on a towel smooth it out into its original shape. Lay the sweater flat on a dry towel and allow it air-dry, or use a drying rack if you have one.
STEP 4 - Once dry, fold your cashmere with tissue paper to absorb any excess moisture.
Of course, this sounds like a lot of work but hand washing a cashmere sweater will actually make it softer over time and will shine bride. So it´s worth it ;)
For more, CLICK HERE and shop our Madeleine Thompson cashmere collection at AVANTGARDRESS.