Other animal fibers used in the fashion and textile industry include mohair, cashmere, and alpaca.

alpaca herd with hills in background.

About

Though sheep wool is the most common animal fiber, there is a range of others used in the fashion and textile industry, among them mohair, cashmere, and alpaca. These fibers are fine, soft, breathable, elastic, and resistant to wrinkling and stretching. Mohair comes from angora goats and is mostly produced in South Africa. Cashmere is derived from cashmere goats, mostly in China and Mongolia. Alpacas are native to Peru, but there are a small number in other countries.

Challenges

Animal welfare and environmental impact are key challenges in animal fiber production.

Challenges to animal welfare can come from mismanagement and mishandling, for example when animals are combed or sheared to remove their fiber. Another welfare risk comes from animal husbandry procedures that are routinely carried out as part of livestock management. In terms of environmental impact, many animals used for their fibers produce the greenhouse gas methane as part of their digestive process. Fiber-producing animals are also generally managed in pasture-based systems, where overgrazing can be an issue.

sheep crossing the road.
Solutions

We’re aiming to improve the health of animals and the land.

We’re supporting the fashion and textiles industry in switching to preferred materials that have better environmental and social outcomes than their conventional alternatives. We’re pressing the industry to raise its standards in respect of animal welfare, while preserving the health of the land. This means contributing to measurable beneficial impacts too.

single alpaca outside.
Resources

Dive deeper into animal fiber production

Get Involved

Take the next steps in your sourcing journey

Sign up for our Animal Fibers Round Table

Lead the conversation on how sustainability looks for wool, mohair, cashmere, alpaca, and more.

Join the Animal Fibers Round Table
RAS & RMS

Our industry standards for alpaca and mohair

We developed the Responsible Alpaca Standard (RAS) and Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) to address the welfare of animals well as good land and biodiversity management. The standards ensure transparency and traceability along the supply chain and require certification at every stage.

white fur and fabric.
MATERIALS PRODUCTION DASHBOARD

Get the latest data

You can access our latest data on production volume for mohair, cashmere, and alpaca in our Materials Production Dashboard.

Sheep grazing in a field.

Find the answers to common questions about other animal fibers

If you have a question, get in touch with us directly, and we’ll be happy to answer it for you.

Other Animal Fibers and Materials

Sheep wool is the most common animal fiber used in the fashion and textile industry.

Leather is made from the hide or skin of animals.

Down is an insulating material with a high warmth-to-weight ratio.