For our last Fabric Lowdown by Jewelz, we visit highly controversial fibre Angora which can be easily confused with the Angora goat. To help reduce the confusion we will also shed some light on Mohair. Apart from our founder having a major dislike to angora fibres (literally makes her skin feel like it’s crawling, along with other fluffy and lurex fibres) we cannot endorse the farming of angora. On a lighter note, if you have missed parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 be sure to check them out, they make for a much nicer read in comparison. As per our previous blogs, at the end of the day Jewelz’s is a fan of vintage but if you’re buying new or looking at developing a sustainable or ethical brand then some of her thoughts on fibres/fabric are differently worth a reading.
Angora is traditionally the fur that comes from the angora rabbit. The fur is then spun into a yarn which is often knitted into garments. The rabbits are not killed to create this yarn, however, they are either shaved or plucked. So, the rabbits are often cut or harmed for the extraction of their fur. So, there is some debate as to whether the process of creating angora is or isn’t cruel. Angora is also a natural fibre and once again we find it to be biodegradable. The fur once spun into yarn is incredibly soft and plush. As rabbits are so much smaller than other natural yarn providing animals such as sheep it can take a long time to collect enough fur from the rabbits to then spin into yarn. Some producers of angora fur might go above & beyond for their rabbits’ quality of life, however, if the angora is sourced in China it might be that the animal’s welfare is less than idealistic. Some rabbits may even be killed or skinned alive for their fur. In the past, I have been a consumer of angora but after researching its origins I think in future I will keep well clear unless I know the full origins of the fur to be ethical and free of chemical dyes. We should not confuse the angora fibre/yarn with the Angora goat, whose wool is used to produce mohair.
Photo credit Luna Seamless, zero-waste knitting
Lifestyle knits, Australian made with care.
Mohair comes from the Arabic term Muhayar meaning “the fabric of goat hair” and has been used as a fine fabric since its introduction to the West by Charles V, a Roman Emperor who brought Angora goats to Europe. Mohair is a long lustrous, smooth fibre used in sweaters, hats, and many other accessories as well as home furnishings such as rugs. It is incredibly resilient and lightweight with natural colours ranging from grey, silver to cream, brown or black. Angora goats are normally farmed in areas of temperate summer and winter climates with a high proportion originating in South Africa and the U.S. (particularly Texas). However, the ABC has reported that Australian Angora wool production is booming and is currently outperforming wool. Angora goats are primarily bred for their wool and in most cases will be shorn twice a year. Because their sensitive nature and inquisitive personalities they need more protection from the elements. Their fleeces are not as waterproof as their other woollen friends (sheep) and are harder to contain and need hazard-free fences and yards due to their horns. Due to all of this and more their wool is expensive and limited. Vegans & some vegetarians will not support mohair as they consider the process to be cruel to the goat. But like anything, there are some farmers that look after their animals with great love. As mentioned in previous articles research the origins of the garments and/or textiles is highly recommended.
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