Thursday 17 January 2008

Of Cloth and Men

Fabrics, what are they? Where do they come from?


Mohair comes from the Angora goat and South Africa is the n° 1 producer. It is one of man's oldest fibres and was first used 3,400 years ago. The best quality comes from a region of the world that anthropologists call the cradle of the human race: the Camdeboo region. It is a desolate area in South Africa where the Bushmen live in harmony with untamed nature.

It gives smooth, shiny and hard wearing fabrics.

Fineness is from 24 to 26 micron (µ) for the young mohair (Kid mohair) and 36µ for the adult mohair.

Fine mohair is blended with wool.


Cotton is a vegetable fibre grown in the America and Europe.

It's properties are: naturally strong, soft and cool with a fineness of 12 to 20 micron (µ) and a length of 2 to 5cm.


Linen is a vegetable fibre taken from the latin linium usiatissimum.

It is very hard wearing and cool with a fineness from 15 to 18 micron (µ) and a length of 7.5 to 15 cm.


Polyester is man-made and the result of a chemical reaction.

Properties: Easy care, resistant to stains and creasing and is washable.


The wool fibre is found in the fleece of the sheep.

The fine wools come from the Merino sheep. Australia is the No.1 producer.

It is light, voluminous, able to absorb humidity and an insulator.

The length, diameter, amount of crimp and strength between fibres vary. It is these properties that determine the value of wool.

The unit of measure for fineness is micron (µ)


Silk is the secretion of the Bombyx moth or Bombyx mori and the fibre is taken from the cocoon.

There are also wild silks of Tussah and Duppioni.

It is naturally shiny, smooth and extremely fine, with a finenesse of 9 to 11micron (µ) and a length of 800 to 1,200 mtrs.


Vicuna is made from the vicuna llama, a rare and protected animal which lives in herds in the Andes of Peru at an altitude of 5000 mtrs.

It is the finest and rarest natural fibre with a fineness of 10 to 13 micron (µ) and a length of 20 to 25 mm.

Vicuña is the nec plus ultra of woollen fabrics and is four times more expensive than cashmere. This is due to its rarity and its luxurious characteristics.

The wool from the vicuña has always been a rare and expensive commodity. Ten thousand years ago, at the time of the Incas, wearing clothes made from vicuña wool was a privilege reserved only for the Inca leader. And vicuña was also referred to as “the fabric of the gods”.


Cashmere is made from the very fine undercoat of the cashmere goats in Central Asia, cashmere fibre is carefully combed out, not shorn.

The finest goats are to be found in Mongolia. Of all natural animal fibres currently available, cashmere is one of the finest and softest.

Its limited supply and luxurious texture make it an extremely exclusive and sought after material which provides its wearer with soft, warm and light garments.

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