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“I’ve made cashmere sweaters for everyone, from the highest end down to those $99 versions,” says Saskia Dijkstra, founder of Amsterdam-based, Hong Kong–produced knitwear label Extreme Cashmere (pictured), a cult brand favored by the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Hailey Bieber. “At some point, I realized everyone makes concessions somewhere along the line. So I wanted to make the perfect sweater, with zero concessions.” Since 2016, her wares have focused on varying silhouettes of classically genderless shapes—think crewnecks, roll-necks, and cardigans—that can only be described as decadent in their construction.
After managing cashmere sourcing for clients such as Jil Sander, Joseph, and Agnes B., Dijkstra is on a quest for perfection that includes using the absolute longest fibers, from 36 to 38 or even a “very rare” 40 Nm yarn (“I’m lucky I know the factory so well,” she says), knitted as tightly as possible (a looser weave uses less wool) and adding Lycra to thicker pieces for a sumptuous density and weight. The latter was a move she had long advocated; it was repeatedly ignored in favor of a flimsier fabrication that could nonetheless be labeled as 100 percent cashmere.
“That’s what I found hard about the fashion industry—they did what the market wanted,” she says. “As a brand, you should do what you do best. Which, for us, is to make the best sweater in the world.”