What is Alpaca?
Alpacas are one of the most beautiful South American camelids. The Alpaca has been valued for its fibre since pre-Incan times due to the properties and quality of its hair.
The Alpacas have been domesticated ever since the time of pre-Incan cultures. There are estimated to be approximately 3.5 to 4 million Alpaca in South America, 95% of which can be found in the regions of Southern Peru.
Alpacas have lived in altitudes varying from 2,500 to more than 4,500m above sea level for thousands of years, withstanding extreme conditions climatic conditions which can fluctuate between -20°C to +30°C in a single day.
If this fibre did not possess certain special properties, the animal would die. Nature couldn’t have designed a better natural isolating fibre. Alpaca feed on a diet low in proteins based on the vegetation typically found in the Andean marshlands, roaming and grazing extensively rather than intensively.
Alpaca is soft, silky and durable with unique thermal properties due to microscopic air bubbles found inside the hair. These bubbles makes the fiber “breathe” through on hot days and in much the same way, to retain body heat in cold climates.
The combination of a unique and severe climate and a diet low in protein permit the Alpaca to grow fine hair which is comparable in quality to other special fibres such as cashmere, angora and mohair.
The indigenous peoples of the Andean mountains harvest the fiber during the shearing season, using traditional methods without harm to the Alpaca. Once the fibre has been gathered, it is hand-sorted by experienced women. Sorting cannot be mechanized; the variable characteristics of the fibre can be assessed only by experienced hands and eyes.
Alpacas are shorn very similar to how a sheep is shorn. Alpacas don’t have to be hurt in order to get the fiber. Alpacas are usually shorn once a year in the spring (March to May). The fiber grows back by the winter to keep them warm until the following spring. Alpacas are much happier once they’ve been shorn in the spring, as they are much cooler to get through the hot summer months.
Alpaca – Eco Friendly
We worry about our relationship with nature and with ourselves. We would like the world to know that Alpaca is a totally natural option and that not everything has to be made from artificial materials. The absence of the lanolin in Alpaca, requires absolutely no cheminal intervention in the sourcing process.
Alpaca is grown organically and therefore contributes positively to the growing important ‘green’ conscientious market.
Alpaca Fibre – Key properties
→Unqiue and superior thermal properties
→Warmer and stronger but lighter than wool
→Dust mite resistant
→Excellent moisture wicking properties
→Luxuriously soft with a silky sheen