Mohair is a natural, eco-friendly, animal-hair fibre (fleece) obtained from the Angora goat.
Mohair is one of the world’s most exclusive natural fibres.
The history of mohair dates back thousands of years when Angora goats originated from Turkey, in the region now called Ankara. Bred for their special wool and milk products, the goats were used extensively throughout the Middle East for centuries before being introduced to the West.
The word mohair is derived from the Arabic word “mukhayyar”(“goat’s hair fabric”), which became mockaire in medieval times. Mohair is one of the oldest textile fibres and was produced exclusively in Turkey for thousands of years. The fabric was so valued, that for hundreds of years the Turkish people attempted to keep it a secret. Export of the Mohair fabric was banned and the Angora Goats were highly protected.
Around 1820 the Angora goats were exported to various regions in the world. The founding of the mohair industry in South Africa was a stroke of good fortune after the Sultan of Turkey sent twelve Angora rams and one ewe to South Africa in 1838. Angora goats were also introduced to the United States in 1849 as a gift from Turkey. Today most of the world’s mohair originates from South Africa, but Turkey and the United States also produces mohair and the United States is the second largest producer of mohair.
An Angora goat produces between 5 to 8 kilograms (11 to 17 pounds) of hair per year. Angora goats are shorn twice a year and are not harmed in any way during this process of shearing. Mohair is therefore a renewable and sustainable natural resource. For many years Angora goats were bred for their white coats, but in 1998, the Angora Goat Breeders Association of SA started to promote the breeding of Angoras goats with various shades of fleece. Angora goats now produce white, black (deep black to greys and silver), reddish (the colour fades significantly as the goat gets older) and brownish fibers.
In South Africa Angora goats thrive in the Karoo, with its combination of hot, dry summers, cold winters and semi-desert vegetation. The combination of best practice farming and an excellent environment for Angora goats has set South Africa apart from other mohair producing countries and South African mohair is globally acknowledged as one of the finest quality natural fibres money can buy.
Unique qualities of Mohair: • Lustre: The fibre’s natural lustre gives garments and mohair fur a silky sheen. • Dye-responsive: Mohair responds magnificently to dyes, retaining even the most brilliant colours over time. • Durability: Because of its pliability, mohair is rated as one of the world’s most durable natural fibres. • Texture: Mohair is one of the most soft, luxurious, durable and resilient animal fibers. • Non-flammable: Mohair is virtually non-flammable. • Crease resistant: Products made from mohair have an innate elasticity, which ensures they hold their shape.