Angora goats are farmed commercially for their mohair fleece. Mohair is a soft, lustrous and hard-wearing fibre with excellent dyeing properties that can be spun into yarn for use in garments and luxury textiles. It should not be confused with angora wool, which is produced from the coat of rabbits.
Mohair is graded by type (Kid, Young Goat and Adult), then by length, and style. Contamination, by hay, straw, seed or stained, downgrades the value of the fleece to purchasers. Correct shearing is important so that very short fibres are avoided and the fleece length is as uniform as possible. The fleeces of different types should be packed separately, and stored so as to avoid contamination by damp and vermin.
The Story of Mohair
Steeped in history, forever in tune with a changing world, mohair fibre exemplifies the everlasting appeal of beauty and quality. Mohair, the lustrous, long and strong hair of the Angora goat, enhances modern fabrics of today as it did the robes of biblical wise men.
Angora goats are believed to have originated in the Himalaya Mountains of Asia. They found their way to Turkey where the name Angora was derived from Ankara, the name of the province where the goats thrived. Angoras were highly regarded and jealously protected from exportation until the second half of the 1800s when the goats were imported into the United States and South Africa. They came to the UK in the 1980s.
The distinctive properties of mohair have made it a highly desired fibre through the centuries for both clothing and home furnishings. Its soft, luxurious handle and rich lustre combine with great durability for enduring beauty – as in socks in a multitude of styles which cushion the feet and protect them from the cold yet are cool in hot weather, whatever the activity; sweaters that rebound season after season, cleaning after cleaning in original colour-lit fluffiness; or in mohair velour upholstery used on contemporary and antique furniture.
With its affinity for dyes, mohair reproduces colours that have an unmatched clarity and a halo-like glow. Fabrics of lively, smooth mohair don’t crush, mat or pill; dust and dirt are easily shaken or brushed off; bacteria and thence smells cannot become trapped in the smooth scales.
Mohair is an all-season fashion fibre, in wonderfully warm knits and wovens for cold weather, and in airy, lightweight structures that breathe with the body for warm days. Used alone or in blends, mohair imparts its unique signature to an infinite variety of fabric textures, from lofty fleeces, rich tweeds and frothy knits, to crisp men’s suitings fabrics. Mohair is a naturally soft fibre, which is enhanced by current expertise and modern processing techniques.
As a decorating fabric, mohair is valued for its flame-resistance, and high sound absorbency. It is ideal for public places such as symphony halls, theatres, hotel lobbies and offices, as well as for homes. In addition, mohair drapes are effective insulators, keeping heat in during cold weather and serving as a barrier against outside hot temperatures in summer.
There are still more areas that capitalize on mohair’s properties: accessories like hats, scarves, lounging boots and slippers; throws and blankets; carpeting and rugs; wigs and switches; paint rollers and ink transfer pads; and children’s toys – where would teddy bears be without mohair? Through the ages, the appeal of mohair has continued, adapting to the times with new and exciting fabric and style interpretations.