JANSENVILLE, South Africa — Over half of the world’s mohair — the fiber that comes from the hair of the angora goat — is produced in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, so it was fitting that the 2013 International Mohair Summit was held in the heart of mohair country, Jansenville.
The mohair industry plays a significant role in the town, which has been identified as a “poverty node,” with high levels of unemployment. Apart from encouraging international interest in mohair, among the objectives of the summit that ran from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 was to spur economic growth and sustainable job development through key partnerships, with the South African government and the Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform being the primary partners for this initiative.
Last year, said Deon Saayman, general manager of industry body Mohair South Africa, the country produced 2.3 million kilograms of mohair. The annual average commercial production is around 4.6 million kilograms. Neighboring Lesotho contributes a further 17 percent to the worldwide output.
Saayman added that this represented a 3 percent increase in production from last year and he hoped to increase production by 4 to 5 percent this year. He also said prices for mohair had stabilized, with the most recent sale averaging around $12.30 a kilogram across all types, although “the highest price paid for one bale of the highest quality of mohair, produced by one of our best farmers in the past summer season, was 600 South African rands [$60] a kilo.”
An investors’ conference kicked off the summit, and issues such as empowerment initiatives, animal beneficiation, development in manufacturing and intergovernmental participation were tackled, with various government officials and Mohair South Africa representatives leading the discussion.
The international appeal of mohair as a fashion fiber was demonstrated in a show that featured local Eastern Cape designers, such as Laduma Ngxokolo and Kelly Esterhuyse, alongside Sayo Takemoto and Kaori Hotta from the Japanese university Mode Gakuen. Both designers emerged as winners in a competition open to third-year fashion design students in Japan, while Esterhuyse was previously named winner of Elle Magazine’s Rising Star Design Award specifically for her work with mohair.
“It is one of South Africa’s most luxurious fabrics,” she remarked, “with diverse possibilities.”
Reinventing luxury was the theme of Colin Cowie’s presentation on mohair trends and marketing on the second day of the summit. A native of the Eastern Cape, the U.S.-based celebrity event planner and author spoke about how mohair should be more widely recognized as a luxury fiber.
“Mohair could become the new cashmere,” he said, pointing out that “there is a niche market for fibers like mohair to re-create and reinvent the luxury market, which is very big.”
Cowie said he believes there is more to mohair than just its capabilities as a fashion and home product, suggesting there is a new range of industries in which mohair could be used and promoted, such as the automotive sector.
He said the relatively small worldwide production of mohair actually gives it an advantage, as it makes it an exclusive commodity within a specialty market.
“The smaller the yield, the greater the demand,” he said. “It is imperative that we market mohair as such — an exotic and extremely lustrous fiber which can be altered and customized to clients’ preferences and satisfaction.”
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews