At one time, mohair was the requisite material for rock stars like David Bowie and Elton John. Even Elvis Presley had a tuxedo woven from the stuff. And it was a huge item on the runways for years. Until now.
Thanks to a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) investigation into the production of mohair, retailers are saying no to carrying any apparel with the hairy stuff. At last count, Gap Inc., H&M, Mango, Primark, Topshop and Zara are among stores that are backing away from mohair.
Mohair can be used in making things like carpets and rugs, but it is also made into a variety of clothing items, and is coveted for its softness, ability to be dyed, functionality, and durability.
The investigation examined the atrocities committed at a number of farms in South Africa, where a reported 50 percent of the world's mohair supply originates. These goats are adorable, it's tough to imagine any reason to harm them, but farms go to great lengths to get the material.
H&M announced a commitment to ban the sale of mohair from its stores, but said it would take until 2020 before the entire inventory is phased out of their chain of 4,700 outlets. But the company does have a history of sticking to previous agreements with PETA, including a decision to ban fur from rabbits in China. Once companies are educated on the ramifications of fur products, it seems that it is easier to make a commitment to get rid of the materials. This is certainly the case with H&M.
Inditez, the parent company of Zara, also reported it would take until 2020 before all their shelves will be mohair-free. It's also not clear whether retailers agreeing to ban mohair stocked products with the controversial material specifically from the South African farms.
Similarly, it's not clear how the U.S. mohair industry figures into PETA's investigation. To that end, PETA announced intentions earlier in May to file papers with the U.S. Agriculture Department complaining about how production at these farms run afoul of federal statutes protecting animals on grounds that the process is painful to goats.
We are all for cruelty-free products, and applaud these brands for taking a step in the right direction!