Events of 2018 catapulted Mohair SA to recalibrate its brand message. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) an NPO against animal abuse accused the industry of perpetuating animal abuse.
This was after a video circulated showing a mohair farmer and his workers mishandling the angora goats. The news sensationally made international headlines which mildly affected South Africa’s exports and farmers.
Mohair has about 1000 producers, 700 angora goat farmers and generates around R1.5 billion in foreign currency through exports (3.5 million kilograms of mohair). South Africa controls 50% of the of the world market of mohair products.
One of SA’s best mohair export brand is MaXhosa by fashion designer Laduma Ngxokolo, (whose studies were ironically funded by Mohair SA). The knitwear brand attracted renowned musicians like Beyoncé Knowles, Alicia Keys, Swiss Beats with the list growing.
South African mohair products across the world are receiving interest especially from European countries. Italy and China were the biggest importers of South African Mohair.
A push to ensure brand Mohair does not get affected by negative reporting has necessitated for a partnership between Mohair SA and Textile Exchange.
“The aim of the partnership was to incorporate its existing Sustainable Production Guidelines into the internationally recognised Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) protocol” said Lindsay Humphreys, general manager at Mohair SA.
A draft Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) is currently being piloted on farms, while relevant stakeholders were also being consulted.
“Topics like animal handling, shearing practices and land/resource management are some of the points that are being discussed,” said Humphreys.
This was viewed as a response to PETA accusations of mohair farmers angora goat handling and mistreatment.
“Mohair SA spent the last decade building the brand of mohair as a luxury fibre that is produced sustainably and ethically, which was evident in the growing demand and price increases,” she explained.
Mohair South Africa will represent SA at the Textile Exchange Conference, currently being held in Vancouver, Canada on 15-18 October.
Source: Twist Magazine