The true origin of the Angora goat is unknown, many thought to originate from the mountains of Tibet, before making their way to Turkey in the 16th century, but fabric made of mohair were also known in England as early as the 8th century.
Around 1820, raw mohair was first exported from Turkey to England, who became the leading manufacturer of mohair products. The Yorkshire mills spun yarn that was exported to countries such as Russia, Germany, Austria, as well as woven directly in Yorkshire. Up until 1849, the Turkish province of Ankara was the sole producer of Angora goats, but due to the great demand for mohair fibre, there was a great deal of crossbreeding between Angora goats and common goats. The demand for mohair increased again in 1838, when the Angora goat was introduced into South Africa (where it was crossed with the native goat), and then again in 1849 and 1856 when it was introduced to the United States, and Australia and New Zealand respectively. Today, South Africa is the largest mohair producer in the world, with the majority of South African mohair being produced in the Eastern Cape, follwed by the United States, whose mohair is mainly produced in Texas. Originally, Angora goats were bred for their white coats, but in 1998, the Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association was set up to promote breeding of colored Angoras and cannow produce white, black, red, and brownish fibers.
Mohair is durable and resilient, naturally elastic, flame resistant, crease resistant, and does not felt, and is often used in fiber blends to add these qualities to a textiles. It is considered to be a luxury fiber, like cashmere and silk and is known for its high luster and sheen. It is warm in winter, due to it’s great insulating properties, while staying cool in the summer thanks to its moisture wicking properties. Mohair is most commonly used in scarves, winter hats, suits, sweaters, coats, socks and home furnishing. Mohair fibre can also be found in carpets, wall fabrics, craft yarns, and is often used as a substitute for fur. Since mohair texture resembles fine human hair, it is often used in making high grade doll wigs or in rooting customized dolls. Mohair is valued for certain unique characteristics:
it is warmer than other fibres, even when used to make a light-weight garment,
mohair fibres have a distinctive lustre created by the way they reflect light,
pure mohair yarns have vivid saturated colours, due to it’s ability to absorb dyes exceptionally well,
fibres from young goats are softest and are used to manufacture yarn for clothing