Alpaca


Alpaca
is considered by the fashion world to be one of the most natural exclusive and luxurious fibers. Softer than cashmere, warmer and stronger than lamb’s wool, Alpaca contains no lanolin, which means it is hypoallergenic to most people. High-grade Alpaca, such as Baby Alpaca, has a low prickle factor. Thus, it does not itch and most people can comfortably wear pure Alpaca like a second skin. Alpaca works as a natural insulator: because of its microscopic air pockets, it keeps the heat during the cooler weather and it releases the heat during warmer temperatures – which means you can wear Alpaca during most seasons.

Properties

  • Comfort: It contains no lanolin and thus it does itch.
  • Waterproff: The absorption of environmental humidity is low and thus it is naturally water resistant.
  • Thermal Properties: It works as an insulator. Alpaca contains microscopic
    air pockets, which creates lightweight clothing with good insulating values.
  • Pilling: This fiber has a lesser tendency to pilling, compared to wool and other animal fibers.
  • Softness: Its fiber is silky, soft, supple and smooth to the touch. It is prized for its unique silky and luxurious feel. Alpaca is softer than cashmere, warmer and stronger than lambs’ wool.
  • Visual Aspect: The fabric has an excellent drape, appearance, and its appearance is unchangeable over time.
  • Colors: Alpaca is the only animal that produces up to 28natural colors which can be blended into an infinitearray of natural shades. Alpaca is easily dyed in any color and alwaysretains its natural luster.
  • Non Flammable: The fiber does not burn, unless put in direct contact with fireElasticity and Resistance: Alpaca fiber is unusually strong and resilient and has a very good elasticity, making it possible to compare it with wool and other animal fibers.
  • World Production: The amount of alpaca fiber produced worldwide is a fraction of total wool production.


History

The Alpaca and Llama were both domesticated around 7,000 years ago; providing food, clothing and transportation for humans throughout the Andean countries of South America. Members of the South American camel family, Alpacas graze in the high plain regions at elevations of 10,000 to 1,000 feet. During the Inca times, alpaca fiber was both a status symbol and a prized trade item. Finer grades of Alpaca were reserved for use by the Inca nobility

Due to the harsh weather conditions prevailing in the Andes and a protein-free diet, Alpacas grow a fine hair with remarkable softness, length and strength. It grows in 28 natural shades, ranging from ivory, brown, grey, and black. It can also be nicely dye

The alpacas are sheared every other year. However, only the fine fleece of the alpaca is called “Baby Alpaca”. It provides a featherweight, heavenly soft fiber that is warmer and lighter than cashmere yet stronger and more durable. The unique qualities of this fiber makes Baby Alpaca highly prized among fashion designers.

Alpacas have been bred for their fine fiber for more than 5,000 years. Over the centuries Alpaca coat color was diversified and fiber production was refined. Alpacas have tow different types of fleece: Suri and Huacaya. Suri Alpacas are distinguished by their long silky fiber that grows parallel to the body and hangs in long, separate, distinctive locks. Huacaya Alpacas are distinguished by their thick, dense, brightner fleece growing vertically from the body.

Alpaca is considered to be one of the rarest species on Earth – and so its natural fibers. Currently, it is estimated that there are only 3 million Alpacas worldwilde – of which 90% are found in the Southern region of Peru. In regards to roduction, around 4,000 tons of Alpaca fiber is produced each year in comparison to 5,000 tons of
Cashmere, 8,500 tons of Angora Rabbit and 22,000 tons of Mohair.