Rich, downy mohair has an illustrious history, from the modern teddy bear back to ancient Arabia. Similar to wool but softer and more lustrous, the fuzzy fiber is often produced as an animal-friendly alternative to fur and has played an important role in the toy industry. The first plush bear appeared in Germany at the end of the 19th century. For decades, these popular toys—dubbed “teddy bears” in 1902 after Theodore Roosevelt—were exclusively crafted from mohair.
The sumptuous fabric is much more than a toy covering, however. The word “mohair” derives from the ancient Arabic-Persian word mukhayyar, which means “that which is selected, the most beautiful.” And as you can see at left, mohair is just as amazing in a delicate lace as it is in a thick, warm coat.
Mohair fiber is, in fact, hair gleaned from the Angora goat—not to be confused with Angora rabbit fur. The goat originated in the mountains of Tibet, prior to early biblical history. It gained prestige, as well as its name, in Angora, Turkey (present-day Ankara). Today, the majority of Angora goats calls South Africa and the southwestern United States home. From the ancient peaks of the Himalayas to dusty Texas, that’s quite a journey.
—Jennifer Sauer, Senior Editor
Sources Fine Fabrics
Embellished mohair fabric, like that photographed above, can be found at:
Mendel Goldberg Fabrics, 212-925-9110
More mohair and mohair-blend fabrics can be found at: