The Story of Mohair

The Story of Mohair - Grey Mohair 2 Piece Suit by Gresham Blake
Grey Mohair 2 Piece Suit by Gresham Blake

At Gresham Blake we have an expansive range of mohair suits in our ready to wear collection, as well as a plethora of different mohair fabrics to choose from when using our bespoke service. However one of the more frequent questions we get asked in store when speaking to customers is ‘what actually is Mohair?’

The Story of Mohair - Angora goat
The Angora goat originated in Turkey

 

Mohair comes from the Angora goat which originated in Turkey. The word mohair comes from the Turkish word “muyha”, which translates to “the best selected fleece”. Unlike other natural fibres, mohair handles dye colours with ease, which is why we recently introduced cobalt blue and purple to the colour palette of our ready to wear mohair suits, along side the usual black and grey suspects.

Purple Mohair Jacket by Gresham Blake

Angora goats were introduced to the U.S in the mid 1800s as a gift from Turkey. During the second world war the U.S were fearful of a wool shortage due to their military uniforms being made entirely of wool. To combat this they blended mohair with wool. The use of Mohair in the military would act as a stepping stone into fashion world.

The Story of Mohair - Field Combat Uniforms: World War II
Field Combat Uniforms: World War II
But why mohair?

Mohair is still one choicest fibres around due to its durability, breathability, lustre and natural elasticity. As our friend Alan Partridge would say, “it bounces back Lynne!” Mohair is taken from the underside of the goat and comes in three grades: kid, young adult and adult. The latter being the coarser of the three which is why we source our mohair from the young.

Mohair has proved popular in our ready to wear range, we also have a lot of clients requesting to see our mohair bunches for bespoke suits.  Our tailors adore mohair as it drapes perfectly and resists wrinkles whilst the smooth scales of the fibre stop dirt from becoming trapped and the fabric from being creased.

 

Bespoke Cobalt Blue Mohair Wedding Suit
When did mohair suits become fashionable?

One of the subcultures that propelled the mohair movement into the eye of the public, was the iconic Mod revolution. The late 50s gave birth to London-based rakish youths with a taste for modern jazz, hence being branded as Mods.  Years later Sting rocked up in Quadrophenia on a Jubilee silver Vespa sporting more mirrors than mph, and the rest is history.

Their main armament for this movement was the mohair suit, and in particular, Dormeuil tonik mohair. Dormeuil (House of Dormeuil) actually coined the term ‘tonik’ in 1958, now it’s used to describe any suit with a sheen, this cloth is the originator of that term.

The Cast of ‘Quadrophenia’

And we’re proud to stock this cloth (ask in store or online). Truly glamorous with a slightly coarse but incredibly dense weave. The family still own the Dormeuil company, based in Paris, but the cloth itself is woven in Huddersfield.

Most Famous Mohairs

Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most famous mohairer of all? One of the most iconic mohair suits to appear on celluloid was the dark blue 3 piece that Sir Michael Caine  worse in Get Carter. Caine’s main ensemble was almost certainly made by Mayfair tailor Douglas Hayward, who went on to make Michael’s suits in The Italian Job. 

James Bond was another member of the mohair club in Dr. No. Director Terence Young’s limited budget allowed Bond 3 lounge suits. Initially Sean Connery wasn’t sold on mohair so was ordered by Young to sleep in the suits in order for him to get acquainted with them. A great testament to the flexibility of the fabric. James Bond uses fabric from Scabal, which we also stock.

Mohair is best suited for…

Everything! Mohair is very much the all-rounder of fabrics; perfect for business, casual and dinner suits. Mohair’s strength allows you to perform everyday tasks with ease. It’s moisture wicking qualities and crease resistance means you needn’t worry about a full day of wear, and it’s inimitable sheen holds its own when worn at a formal occasion.

Black Mohair Peak Lapel Dinner Suit by Gresham Blake

Ask in store about ready to wear mohair suits today or book an appointment with one of our consultants who will gladly show you some of our mohair bunches.

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