They’ve burnt through Supreme-logo hoodies, hype sneakers, ironic Balenciaga tees, Telfar bags, and even a few purposefully goofy fitting pants. They’ve snapped fit pics in every possible pose. Now, the horde of fashion dudes who steer menswear aren’t after a logo, design, silhouette or even scarce sold-out clothes. Instead, they’re obsessed with something simpler: a fabric. In menswear, there is nothing bigger than mohair, the shaggy wool comprising the sweaters and cardigans of the moment.
You can’t toss an Aimé Leon Dore Yankees Cap, Bobby Shmurda-style, in downtown New York without hitting a shaggy mohair sweater or cardigan. There are, of course, Marni’s colorful variations but it’s given way to pieces from Awake NY, John Elliott, Isabel Marant, Brownstone, The Elder Statesman, ERL, ALD, Supreme, Tremaine Emory, and a collaborative mohair cardigan between Checks and the menswear podcast Throwing Fits. “In a cold hard world where everything is complete and utter shit, the discerning jawnz enthusiast lives to snuggle up and get hands on with the warm enveloping comfort of mohair,” Throwing Fits hosts Lawrence Schlossman and James Harris said. Mohair has entered the age of Bro-Hair.
Fashion is cyclical, but few trends loop as far back into history as mohair. The fabric’s first devotee? Moses. Heck yeah: In the Bible, he asks for the fabric to be brought to the tabernacle meaning mohair has been around since sometime between 1571 and 1451 B.C. Thousands of years later, in 19th century Turkey, the Angora goats that produce the fabric were crossbred to keep up with the demand coming from mohair-crazy Europe. Think of these Angora goats, with their shaggy, stonery coats as early influencers.
Bro-Hair is a long-simmering trend that’s just now boiling over the pot. In 2019, resale site Poshmark reported that guys couldn’t get enough vintage mohair. Following the lead of unwitting style icons Mr. Rogers and Kurt Cobain, demand for mohair returned to its 19th-century heights. The grungy cardigan formerly owned by Cobain sold for $334,400 at auction—mohair was suddenly behind the most-expensive sweater at auction. It wasn’t long before that Japanese brand Needles fired the first shot in the Bro-Hair wars with a funky dyed cardigan in its fall/winter 2018 collection. Jian DeLeon, the men’s fashion and editorial director at Nordstrom, cites Needles’ devotion to mohair as one of the trend’s drivers.