What Is Alpaca?
Originally bred in South America, Alpacas belong to the camelid family, are cousin to the Llama and owe much of their character to the wild Vicuna. The animals are very inquisitive and gentle due to years of domestication. For thousands of years alpacas have been bred for their unique fibre, which was a cherished treasure of the ancient Inca civilisation known to Inca royalty as the fibre of the gods. They graze at high altitudes in the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They endure extreme climates from freezing to hot temperatures and it is this habitat that has helped their fleece evolve.
There are two breeds of alpaca, Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya alpacas have dense crimp like hair and Suris have long silky ‘locks’ of hair.
Alpacas are mostly shorn once a year. The best alpaca fleece is mainly obtained from the blanket around the shoulders, neck and rump of the animal. You may notice that some of our garments are ‘Baby Alpaca’, this fleece is generally sheared when the alpacas are under one year old. This fleece is the finest and softest from underside of the neck. Once it has been shorn, the alpaca fleece goes through a cleaning process and are then spun into yarns.
Alpaca fibre has many special properties which makes it ideal for making clothing and many other products too and it is this that makes it very sought after from top fashion houses from around the world. It is extremely durable and the second strongest natural fibre to silk, yet extremely soft to touch, as soft as Cashmere. Like other natural fibres alpaca acts as a great insulator, it is warm as the hollow fibres keep the warm air in. It is exceptionally lightweight, there is no need for a heavy or bulky products in alpaca as you will find warmth in the lightest of garments.
Alpaca is hypoallergenic. For people sensitive to sheep’s wool, alpaca is an great alternative as it is not prickly and does contain lanolin so shouldn’t irritate the wearer.
Some more interesting facts about Alpaca:
- Alpaca Fibre occurs naturally in over 22 shades from black to white
- Naturally Regulates Temperature
- Wicks Away Moisture
- Deters Dust Mites
- Eco Friendly
For our alpaca fur products, no alpacas are killed. All alpaca fur used is from alpacas that have died naturally. Due to the natural terrain and harsh climate unfortunately there can be a high rate of natural death of the alpacas on the Andes. It is not financially viable for farmers to kill their alpacas for their skins, the longer the animal lives the better for both the animal and farmer as the more fleece can be obtained when sheared year on year.
You can be rest assured that alpaca garments will last you for years, as one of the world’s most luxurious fibres, you won’t look back.