Fibre quality is determined by its flexibility, gauge and texture. Quality is both seen and felt, good fibre quality is considered Swakara’s most important attribute; therefore, it’s hardly surprising that because Swakara’s producers feel so strongly about this, Swakara’s quality standards are written into Namibian law.
High quality reflects maximum light, and feels silky, while at the opposite end, low quality reflects less light, is dull, lifeless, and feels coarse; in its very extreme, the fibre can be so stiff that it breaks when touched. While there is no doubt that good processing can enhance good quality, it cannot correct poor quality; therefore, the extremes of poor quality (five and six) are rejected, they are banned from sale and export by Namibian law. Quality four is sold as unlabelled Swakara with the designation “C”. Only after these extremes have been removed, can qualities from three (Ivory) upwards have the possibility to qualify for labelled goods, providing however, they fall within the accepted parameters of fibre length.
Fibre quality and pattern excellence are judged together in the grading process, with fibre quality always receiving the highest consideration. Pattern excellence is determined by the extent of coverage, completeness, character formation, and the tightness of curl, which is connected to elasticity of the fibre. When all these attributes are at their very best, combined with superlative fibre quality on Galliac Broadtail or Broadtail, the result is said to be “superfine”. Superfine feels rather like very tight embroidery upon the finest silk; only this very highest standard qualifies for Kopenhagen Purple Super, the absolute cream of any Swakara collection.
When buying Swakara for bleaching remember that the bleaching process extracts flexibility and silkiness from fibre; consequently, you are advised to buy a higher quality to compensate for this loss; if in doubt, consult your dresser before purchase.