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Alpaca: 10 Things To Know And Love About This Supremely Sustainable Fibre

26/09/2017 15:17

1. It's soft

And I mean super soft.

The hair of the Huacaya alpaca (the variety making up about 90% of the alpaca population worldwide) is short, curled, dense and sponge-like. This makes it really soft and gives it strength and elasticity.

2. It's versatile

Living at altitudes where the temperature can fluctuate between -20˚c and +30˚c in the same day, the alpaca itself has a high tolerance for temperature change. This quality is transferred to clothing made with its fibre.

3. It's light

The microscopic air pockets found in alpaca fibres mean that clothing made with it is very light.

4. It's breathable

This structure also makes it breathable, regulating your temperature better than other wools.

5. It's wrinkle free

The combination of all the above makes alpaca garments drape beautifully and wrinkles simply drop out of it when worn.

6. It gets lots of attention

Alpaca fibres are sorted and classified by their thickness and colour, by hand. This process can never be mechanised because the variable characteristics of the fibre can only be identified by experienced hands and eyes.

7. Its richness of colour is unmatched...

The alpaca has a high number of natural shades (24 to be precise), ranging from ivory to black. These natural colours have a richness and depth unrivalled by any other fibre.

8. It's noble

Also known as 'the fibre of the gods' or 'the gold of the Andes', alpaca cloth was once reserved for royalty.

9. It's sustainable

Alpacas are green animals. They are not overbred, their cushioned paws don't damage the ground they walk on and their particular way of grazing (they don't pull up plants up by the root) helps conserve the ecosystem in which they live.

Because they produce fibre in so many shades, the need to dye them is also reduced.

And alpaca garments are biodegradable.

10. It's easy to wear and care for

Maybe the best thing is that alpaca garments don't need to be washed nearly as often as you think. Airing them between wears is often all they need.

When you do need to wash them, simply use some cold water and mild detergent.

If you don't have this fibre somewhere in your wardrobe, you're missing out.

It's modern, sustainable luxury. Finally.

This post was originally published on the STUDY 34 blog.

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