Alpaca wool is harvested from the Alpaca, a New World Camelid that is native to the high, remote Andean plains of South America. The South American Camelid family also includes Guanacos, Llamas and Vicuñas. With an estimate of only three million alpacas worldwide, some 90% of which are found in the southern regions of Peru, the Alpaca is one of the rarest species on Earth.
The Alpaca's fur is used to make wool for blankets, throws and clothing that wonderfully protects against the chilling climates of the Andean mountains. For centuries Alpaca fur was considered the fabric of royalty because of its luxurious softness and durability. Although a fabric staple in Peru, Chile, Ecuador and other South American cultures, Alpaca wool has now been embraced by indie and high-end designers and has led to a triumphant fusion of fashion and function. In the recent months, Alpaca wool has graced the London and New York fashion runways with its traditional and contemporary edge.
Alpaca, one of the world’s most luxurious fabrics, is a jewel amid all the synthetic fibers and harsh materials found in our everyday lives. Softer than cashmere and available in a wide array of colors, Alpaca wool serves as a natural thermostat by using its microscopic air pockets to trap body heat in cooler temperatures and to release heat in warmer weather. With its durable, hollow core that traps little pockets of air, Alpaca produces softer, silk-like strands that act as insulators against both cold and heat. These air pockets also allow for the fabric’s breathability, keeping you cool even during the summer.
As the principle material of Incan textiles for thousands of years, Alpaca wool, “the gold of the Andes,” has always been highly sought after. Today, the world of high fashion cherishes Alpaca not only for its scarcity but also for its natural attributes: its fineness, durability, and hypo-allergenic and lightweight qualities. Alpaca comes in 24 shades of naturally occurring fiber as Alpacas range from white through all shades of grey and brown to black. The natural shades of the wool can be "blended" to achieve a vast amount of color variations making it a versatile material for designers to use.
Alpaca wool and the products that incorporate it are:
- High Quality - Alpaca wool is considered one of the world's most valuable natural fibers
- Hypo-Allergenic - Alpaca does NOT contain lanolin unlike other natural fibers that are responsible for allergic reactions
- Warm & Lightweight - Alpaca fiber has a natural insulating core, providing warmth without weight
- Extremely Comfortable - Alpaca wool "breathes" providing warmth without over-heating the user
- Durable - Alpaca fiber has a natural elastic quality that adds to both comfort and durability
- Friendly to the Environment - Alpaca fur is a natural organic fiber that does not require mechanical or chemical processing to allow its use
- Easy to Maintain - Hand wash with a mild detergent, do not wring, lay flat to dry