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Extreme cashmere

It’s about fashion and outdoor sports. Yet the PALU Cashmere is also a story about. Where passion generates an intuition, and it solves a problem with elegance and simplicity.

How come nobody ever thought of it? This question sprang to mind when listening to the story of PALU Cashmere, a new brand based in Canada and Italy that develops and produces high performance outdoor garments using this natural fiber. After all, wasn’t Walter Bonatti wearing clothes made of this light, soft and highly protective material (8 times more than merino)? Yet despite being the favourite of most mountaneers up till the 50s, cashmere has been progressively abandoned as a fiber for sport garments with the emergence of technical, high performance fabrics.

Design and outdoors

What has design got to do with outdoor garments? In this case, a lot. Because the PALU Cashmere collection are issued from a thiking that is very similar to that of much contemporary product design. That is to say, mixing craftsmanship and heritage with high tech materials research to create functional and sustainable products conceived for a niche of passionate individuals. In this case, outdoor fanatics.

Heritage and technology

PALU was born as a personal dream of three people. One of them is Sean Gibbs: who is mentioned first because he is the one who delivered to me this story. English, has lived in Italy for years and has a past as a graphic designer, a present as an airplane pilot and constant passion for extreme mountain biking. Then there is Rebecca, his sister: interior designer and skier. She lives in Canada with her husband Davide Bizzarri, semi-professional sailor and mountaineer. Together, they run Artigiani Milanesi, the Bizzarri cashmere family company created in 1959 in Milan and moved to Vancouver four years ago (while production remains in Italy).

Layered protection

The idea behind PALU Cashmere is simple but brilliant. Using only natural cashmere for a total outdoor kit. Hence for garments that are in contact with the body, such as sweaters, sweaters, warmers and ski masks. But also for vests and outer jackets, dungarees and trousers. Vital, in this proceeding by layers, was the introduction of nano cashmere, a hydro-repellent material developed working on the molecules of natural cashmere, following a process of biomimetic design (more on this here).

From Walter Bonatti to Liz Rose, 26 years old, 7 summits

«As athletes and lovers of beauty, we have always been looking for clothing to meet our needs. And  these are often extreme given the conditions in which we find ourselves practicing our passions», says Gibbs. «Remembering Walter Bonatti, we wanted a mountaineer to test the prototypes of our collections. And given our dual nationality, to match the Italian legend we have chosen a very young Canadian, 26 year old Liz Rose. Who, at 26, has just completed the Seven Summits, the highest peaks of all continents, wearing PALU Cashmere». After this, looking at cashmere as a mere living room yarn will be extremely hard.

The 2018/19 collection is not available yet. But a visit to the PALU Cashmere web site is worth it to get inspired with a great video about fashion and extreme outdoors. Strictly for mountains lovers….

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