The following is a response from the Director of Administration at Carnegie Hall to an inquiry from John Buster about the fabric used to upholster the seats.
Dear Mr. Buster,

I am writing in response to your attached letter dated July 23 [2009] inquiring about the fabric material on seat covers in premier concert halls around the world. In response, here at Carnegie Hall, the theater seats are covered in 100% Mohair for the following three primary reasons:
  1. Mohair is completely natural, and naturally fire retardant, void of safety and environmental concerns such as off-gassing related to some synthetic fabrics. While used for centuries, it is among the most ‘green’ products in contemporary terms, derived from goats through eco-friendly sustainable farming and through shearing of hair rather than animal slaughter, a process that is also void of any inherent animal cruelty. Therefore, Mohair is an appropriate product for a socially conscious nonprofit.

  2. Mohair is extraordinarily comfortable yet extremely durable. With over 750,000 concert-goers per year among all three venues, Carnegie Hall only reupholsters theater seats once every 20 to 25 years. Moreover, as Mohair ages, it actually improves in patina until the last, when it ultimately becomes threadbare. While initially expensive, Mohair pays dividends in reduced maintenance over time. Therefore, Mohair is an appropriate product for a fiscally responsible nonprofit.

  3. As generally known and as corroborated through historical fabric analysis at Carnegie Hall, Mohair is an historically accurate and appropriate seat covering for the two 19th century concert halls – Isaac Stern Auditorium and Weill Recital Hall. Therefore, Mohair is an appropriate product befitting a City, State and National Historic Landmark.

Director of Administration

Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10019