Alpaca is quickly becoming one of the world’s most renowned sustainable fibers. Peru is the largest exporter and producer of Alpaca, its tradition stretching back to the times of the Incas where its mystical properties with high revered and the alpaca were worshiped for its strengths and rare qualities.
Alpaca outperforms many other high-quality fibers not only in its high-luxe appeal but also for its luster, depth of color and its long life properties. If you haven’t already considering switching to Alpaca, here are few reasons why you should:
1. The Benefits Of Alpaca
Firstly, Alpaca is warmer, stronger, lighter and softer than other quality contenders for high-end luxury materials such as cashmere and merino wool. Alpaca is famous for its luxurious fleece and its versatility: it won’t shrink or pill if given correct care, it is hyper allergenic and has water resistant properties. Alpaca absorbs little humidity from the surrounding environment and it thermally insulating, making it perfect for winter wear, as well as for accessories for outdoor sports such as hiking and skiing.
Perhaps the most impressive characteristic of alpaca is the fact it boasts the biggest range of natural colors out of all the natural fibers. What’s more is that with the correct care, it can last for years as it is virtually indestructible: just take a look at some of the ancient Peruvian textiles which have kept their color, shape and form even after 2000 years!
2. Alpacas Are Super Green Animals
Alpacas could be the greenest animals on the planet. Down to the fact their hooves are softly padded which reduces environmental impact, Alpacas also produce more fleece than sheep and they have more effective eating and drinking habits than other grazing animals, which also reduces impact. They are finely suited to the harsh conditions of the Peruvian Andes, and the fact that the animals are not harmed during the shearing process means that they are highly sustainable. Furthermore, the process of alpaca farming does not require harsh chemicals – this means that alpaca farming is completely safe and natural for the environment.
3. Alpacas Support The Local Peruvian Industry
Peruvian history is seeped in alpaca farming. From the breeder who raises the livestock, to the master sorter who learned from their parents how to sort the fleece, to the spinners and knitters who produce some of the world’s highest quality items for fashion supply chains; alpaca is part of Peru’s diverse textile heritage. By buying an alpaca product, you are directly contributing to the livelihood to the people who depend on exporting this wonderful fiber to survive.
Ellen is Piece & Co's artisan development manager for Latin America. She has travelled all over the world, which feeds into her love of traditional textiles, ethical fashion and modern design. Having had a background in development, Ellen has grown alongside women's empowerment initiatives and uses her skills to empower women and aid cultural preservation. Follow her creative journey in Central and South America @ella.hilo.