Alpaca are a domesticated species of South American camelid that is closely related to llamas. They are indigenous to the Peruvian highlands, where they were domesticated thousands of years ago. There are two generally recognized breeds of alpacas; Huacayo and Suri. Huacayo, the more common of the two types, is distinguished by its shorter, dense fleece, which gives the breed a teddy bear-like appearance. Suri alpacas are distinguishable by their longer, softer silky fleece.
Fiber of the Gods
Alpaca wool, or simply alpaca as it is commonly called, is the luxurious natural fiber harvested from alpacas. Also known as "The Fiber of the Gods", alpaca fleece is highly prized for its softness, lightweight, warmth, strength, and smooth texture (“hand”). Fine quality alpaca fiber (10 – 25 microns diameter - know in the trade as “Baby Alpaca”), is very comparable to quality cashmere. However, alpaca pills less and is warmer and more durable than cashmere.
Alpaca fleece has a palette of over 20 natural colors, ranging from a true black to brilliant white, with an abundance of browns, grays, beiges, and tans. By blending fibers of different colors, the number of natural shades can surpass 300, making it unnecessary to use dyes. Alpaca fleece is also naturally hypoallergenic and water-repellent, which makes it a great option for people with sensitive skin and for use in damp, cold outdoor environments. These qualities have earned alpaca its reputation as one of the world’s finest natural luxury fibers.
In Peru, indigenous people have used alpaca for thousands of years. European importation of alpaca fiber started soon after the Spanish arrived in South America. Breakthroughs in industrial manufacturing of alpaca fabrics led to a great increase in demand for alpaca in Europe and later the USA. In recent years, alpaca’s popularity as a luxury fiber has surged, due in large part to the decline in the supply of quality cashmere and increased awareness of alpaca as an alternative eco-friendly luxury fiber. Alpaca’s appeal is particularly strong in the luxury good segments, where it is used extensively in products like luxury throws, blankets, scarves, wraps and coats. Luxury consumers love its sumptuous softness, lightweight warmth, relatively low environmental impact, and rich tradition.
- 1. Very fine, soft fiber
- 2. Light and warm
- 3. Lanolin free fiber – naturally hypo-allergenic, "no-itch”
- 4. Over 22 natural colors and 300 hues
- 5. Noble tradition – revered by the Incas as “Fiber of the Gods”
- 6. Very strong durable fiber – will last for years and years