South African Mohair Industries Limited (SAMIL) is the link between mohair producers, processors and consumers. Our vision is to be an innovative South African company specialising in the production and processing of natural fibres, as well as speciality spun yarns.
Mohair, the fleece of the Angora goat, is:
- the noble fibre, known as the diamond fibre
- lustrous, resilient and offers exceptional colour reflection
- one of the world’s most beautiful sustainable natural fibres
- a symbol of luxury and exclusivity.
Our local brand African Expressions was born of the desire to share Africa’s natural beauty with the rest of the world. Through our unique range of yarns, we express the essence of that which makes Africa magical. Our network of local farmers, who farm in optimal Angora goat conditions, breed stock which bear excellent fibres. This ensures that our yarns are naturally soft to the touch, easy to knit and luxuriously versatile.
Crafters and knitters are returning to their passion
Michael Brosnahan, CEO of SAMIL, unpacks the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown on the mohair industry.
With people at home during the Covid-19 lockdown, was there greater demand from creative people?
Happily for SAMIL the crafters and knitters of the world took refuge in their art, many of them returning to their passion, with time on their hands. The demand for our hand knitting and crochet yarns increased dramatically during the hard lockdown periods and this increase in demand shows no signs of abating.
What were other effects of the pandemic?
Sadly, the effect on farmers and processors was quite devastating financially, particularly in the months of April to June, when we were unable to export our mohair tops. This obviously impacted all who are employed in the industry by way of significantly reduced income. We are very grateful for the assistance provided by the government via the UIF TERS system which helped to reduce the impact.
How will the “new normal” affect the mohair industry?
Providing that South Africa and other countries do not return to a hard lockdown situation, it should not have a further impact. Demand for high-fashion goods will always be there and due to the reduction in availability caused by the ongoing drought conditions in the Karoo region, where most of the mohair is farmed, demand outstrips supply.
Is there a growing awareness of the importance of sustainability among customers?
There is no doubt that the consumer of today makes purchase decisions no longer merely on price alone, but also on their understanding of the ethicality of the manufacturing process. They want to know that the goods have not harmed the environment in any way. This concern extends further to the welfare of the people producing the items and the treatment of the animals.
The Responsible Mohair Standard is an established set of rules drawn up by the global non-profit organisation, Textile Exchange. These rules govern all aspects of the mohair industry, from the care of the environment to the welfare of the animals and all the individuals employed in the industry.
SAMIL Farming was established with the primary objective of stabilising and possibly increasing mohair supply to the processors.
SAMIL Natural Fibres Combing is in Berlin, outside East London in the Eastern Cape. As mohair processing has decreased in other parts of the world, SAMIL Combing has become one of the world’s leading processors. Unlike many processing plants SAMIL Combing focusses on and is committed to processing only mohair.
Through a strong support base of affiliated companies, partners and agents, SAMIL has established strong connections throughout the world for the purchase and sale of raw materials and finished goods. South Africa processes in excess of 80% of the world’s mohair production. The advantage of having both top-making and spinning operations in South Africa, as well as access to raw material produced within the company, is that SAMIL is able to offer lots guaranteed from origin, a rare luxury in today’s business environment.
Spinning and dyeing
SAMIL Spinning is a global manufacturer of outstanding quality mohair yarns, producing a wide and exclusive range of mohair and mohair blended fancy and fine-spun yarns in both fine-count and coarser varieties. We are internationally renowned for our superior product range and cater for the hand knitting, machine knitting, weaving, hosiery and decor markets. Although we specialise in pure mohair, we also blend mohair with a range of other natural and man-made fibres. Yarns can be custom dyed to any shade at SAMIL’s state of the art dye house.
The latest venture under the SAMIL umbrella is the research project called ANGELA which aims to enhance Angora goats and the mohair industry, from increasing kidding rates to the improvement of the different hair qualities. The project will make available its results to all in the mohair farming community.