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Mohair, often named the diamond fibre due to its inherently beautiful sheen, is a luxurious natural wool used to create products ranging from high-end sweaters and winter accessories to upholstery and carpets. Mohair has a soft, silk-like quality and is a textile derived from the coats of Angora goats, popular in luxury garments from the likes of brands such as Acne Studios, Ganni and Gucci.


Mohair is widely considered to be one of the oldest fibre textiles in the world, originating from the mountains of Tibet, where the Angora goat was originally found. Mohair has been used as a fine fabric for centuries since its first introduction to Europe in the 16th century. Today, South Africa is the largest farmer of Angora goats and the most prominent mohair exporter and producer, accounting for over 50% of global mohair production, followed by the US and Turkey.


Mohair creates a luxurious knitting yarn, making the use of mohair fabrics for knitting and crocheting very popular. Its soft, lustrous and hard-wearing characteristics with excellent dyeing properties mean it is also often spun into yarn for garments and luxury textiles. Its resistance to odours and stains reduces the need to wash garments frequently, hence saving energy and water. The Angora goat fleece is both beautiful and provides a sustainable production chain between humans and animals.

Mohair strength and texture variations depend on the age of the goat, ranging from fine and fluffy fibres from young goats used for items such as socks, to coarser and more resilient fibres as the goats age which are more suitable for products like home furnishings or rugs.

Production Process

Shearing season on mohair farms takes place in the spring and the autumn of each year, after which the hair is processed to remove natural grease and dirt. Unlike cashmere, mohair fleeces do not need to be dehaired to separate coarse hairs from the down hair.

Each Angora goat shearing can produce 2 to 3.6 kilograms of mohair, making the fibres a renewable resource due to the ability to harvest repeatedly. Collected fibres are then classed, scoured, carded, combed and spun.

Shearing by hand or with electric clippers avoids harming the goats in any way, unlike alternative and unethical methods such as fleece plucking. Due to selective breeding of Angora goats for higher mohair yields, domesticated goats now often shed their coats year-round, hence making regular shearing an integral part of caring for the goats and meaning that mohair farming, when conducted humanely, is important for the animals.


Angora goats are primarily used for the production of mohair and are therefore kept for their natural life expectancy of 10-12 years. They produce copious amount of fleece (it grows at the rate of about 2cm per month) and therefore require constant maintenance, with shearing happening twice a year.

The industrial farming of Angora goats to provide for mohair wool fabrics can raise both ecological and ethical concerns. Ecological issues can arise from large Angora goat herds causing overgrazing and land degradation, as well as being associated with elevated levels of greenhouse gas emissions. PETA and The Washington Post have both investigated and exposed the unethical treatment of Angora goats on twelve mohair farms in South Africa. These exposés drove some of the world’s largest clothing brands to discontinue the sale of mohair products in their stores, including Zara, Gap and H&M.

This backlash reflects a shifting consciousness in consumer concern for ethically sourced clothing which, although posing a challenge for mohair production, is accelerating a necessary change in the industry’s treatment of animals and giving rise to the need for ethical and regulated mohair production chains.

Initiatives such as the international voluntary Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) by the Textile Exchange or the American Mohair Assurance (AMA) by the Mohair Council of America, are promising steps in the right direction towards implementing incentives for farming best practices and improving the sustainability of mohair production, ensuring that mohair comes from farms with progressive land management and responsible treatment of goats. RMS and AMA standards help drive the shift to sustainable sourcing by evidencing demand for best practice.

More on Mohair Standards

The American Mohair Assurance (AMA) is a set of voluntary standards for Angora producer in the U.S. to collectively abide by to assure the public of ethical mohair production practices.

The AMA standard details producers’ commitment to quality management and humane handling, focusing on five distinct pillars of animal care: nutrition, living environment, animal management, handling & transport and management.

Developed in 2020 by the Mohair Council of America, in collaboration with U.S. Angora producers, the goal of the AMA is to build trust with consumers and establish the U.S. as a trusted global leader of responsibly-sourced mohair.

The Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) addresses animal welfare and environmental responsibility in mohair supply chains. The voluntary standard requires all sites, from farms through to the seller in the final business-to-business transaction, to be certified. RMS farmers and ranchers must meet animal welfare, land management and social requirements.

Developed by the Textile Exchange, the RMA aims to improve the way animals and land are looked after across the world, providing the mohair industry with a tool to recognise farming best practices and ensuring that mohair comes from farms that respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare:

  1. Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
  2. Freedom from discomfort and exposure
  3. Freedom from pain, injury and disease
  4. Freedom from fear and distress
  5. Freedom to express normal behaviour

The Future of Mohair

Demand for mohair wool continues to rise, offering a promising future for the material in the sustainable design movement. More designers are choosing to use mohair in the production of their items due to the material’s high quality in comparison to other alternatives. Its unique qualities make it ideal for both clothing and interior textile designs, with its highly resistant and long-lasting durability making mohair pieces a perfect choice for consumers looking to join the slow fashion trend. As long as mohair is sourced from  responsible Angora goat farms who treat their animals ethically, such as those who meet the RMS or the AMA standards, this diamond fibre continues to be one of the most luxurious and sustainable fabric available.

Resources for more

To learn more about mohair, please visit the websites below:









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