Newsletter No.44 02 December 2016
#SharetheBay: There’s a rich history behind SA’s ‘diamond fibre’ industry
By Sindy Peters
Did you know that South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the mohair capital of the world? I didn’t, until yesterday that is, when we visited the Mohair South Africa headquarters in Port Elizabeth. In fact, our mohair story is quite a rich one…
Originating in the Tibetan Himalayas, the silk-like fabric or yarn – known as mohair – produced from the Angora goat’s fleece has been a highly treasured natural fibre for thousands of years. It was a stroke of luck, however, that led to the foundation of the mohair industry in South Africa. In 1938, the sultan of Turkey sent 12 infertile Angora rams and one ewe to the country, unbeknownst to him that the ewe was already pregnant. She gave birth to a ram, establishing Angora breeding stock in SA, leading to the establishment of a now prolific industry that contributes roughly 50% of total world mohair production.
What’s so special about mohair?
It isn’t known as ‘the noble fibre’ or ‘the diamond fibre’ for nothing – some of its unique qualities include its versatility; carpets, curtains, duvet filling, furniture covers, rugs, blankets, suits, socks, scarves, cardigans – there’s very little you can’t do with mohair. It has a similar natural lustre to silk, is very lightweight yet durable because of its pliability, and is crease-resistant ensuring products hold their shape. Another thing mohair holds very well is colour, responding to dyes in a way that few fibres do. Lastly, it has an innate climate control system absorbing and releasing atmospheric moisture, meaning it keeps one cool in summer and warm in winter. Mohair is basically the super fibre of the textile industry, in high demand with interior designers, craft specialists, and industrial fibre specialists.
From fleece to final product
The mohair process begins with clipping the fleece from the Angora goats. This happens twice a year, either by hand or electric shears. This is followed by meticulous classing – sorting the mohair into various lengths, diameters, and quality types. Next the mohair is washed, and carded – the fibres are positioned in uniform lengths and the vegetable matter is removed. Combing comes next, followed by spinning – converting the mohair into yarn. Twisting and brushing the yarn produces its fluffy appearance. Through weaving or knitting, the mohair yarn is manufactured into woven cloth or knitted panels for garment production. It can be dyed after combing, spinning, or weaving.
There are 20 mohair manufacturers in the Eastern Cape, along with many local designers situated in the province. The end products don’t come cheap though as a lot of care, from farming to production, is needed. The most expensive, high-quality fleece is obtained from the very first shearing of an Angora kid goat. Many emerging farmers participate in this industry too, contributing to its sustainability, with upcoming farmers producing 629 tonnes of mohair, valued R41m in 2014.
From its charmed beginnings to its rigorous production process, the Mohair South Africa story is certainly one to share locally and abroad.
Vilebrequin presents it’s Special Christmas print – NOĖL
Goodbye to ties and suits! Ciao to the chores of daily life! In the holiday kingdom, all is sunny and dandy.
Vilebrequin’s special Christmas print plunges one into the magic of a Christmas where all our wildest dreams can come true: surfing over land and sea, twisting and twirling on ice caps as if they were skating rinks, flying far, far away on a sleigh, enjoying our summer vacation…
This particular Christmas print speaks to the child within, themed – in the land of our childhood. Perhaps that’s the greatest luxury of all: learning to let go, if only for a week or so…
Discover the Noël Christmas print for fathers and sons at Vilebrequin stores located in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, Melrose Arch and Nelson Mandela Square in Johannesburg and Thesen Island in Knysna.
Sasol commences R1bn polypropylene expansion project.
Sasol, a chemicals and energy company, has started its C3 expansion project in Secunda, Mpumalanga province of South Africa to increase its polypropylene production capacity by 103,000 tons per annum. The R1 billion ($71 million) capital investment is part of the company’s dual-regional, multi-asset hub growth strategy in Southern Africa and North America.
The South African chemical company is also working on reducing the environmental impact, while increasing production capacity with its propylene plant. The project took about three years to complete.
“This particular investment further entrenches Sasol as a global chemicals player. With more than R1 billion invested, we are proud to unveil yet another major capital investment in South Africa, our home,” said Stephen Cornell, joint president and chief executive officer, Sasol Limited.
Polypropylene is one of the world’s most widely used petrochemical products. A versatile polymer, the product has a variety of applications which include packaging for consumer products, plastic parts for various industries including the automotive industry, and textiles. The chemical serves double duty both as a plastic and as a fibre.
Did you Know………
Jeans were named after Genoan sailors from Genoa, Italy, who popularized wearing the material.
The word “denim” most likely came from a French material called serge de Nimes which is from the French seaside town of Nimes.
The first pair of Levi’s was sold around 1853 for $6 worth of gold dust.
To Advertise………………….. Click here to see fact sheet.
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