Why is Alpaca our favorite fiber?

We talk quite often about how much we love alpaca and in particular the alpaca fiber, but why? What makes this fiber so likable? What has led to the domestication of these animals for the better part of five centuries?

 

We want to explore the benefits of the alpaca fiber, why we chose it, and why it is so preferable to wool. 

 

To summarize in five short points why alpaca is a world-class fiber:

  • Warmth: The warmth of Alpaca is unparalleled by any natural fabric. 
  • Softness: The fiber itself is incredibly soft, it is thus so because it is very fine and, unlike wool, the “scales” of the fiber are lower and less prominent
  • Hypoallergenic: As alpaca does not contain lanolin, a common skin irritant that naturally occurs in wool and cashmere, it is extraordinarily comfortable
  • Water resistance: Due to the density of the hair, alpaca fiber is much more resistant to water than an equivalent wool product
  • Sustainability: Our alpaca are sustainably raised, free from constraint, in the Andes

 

The above five points are only a summary, we want to explore each in depth to highlight just how exceptional this fiber is. 

 

Warmth: The warmth of Alpaca is due to several reasons. First, to think genetically, alpaca has been raised in the harsh climate of the Andes for thousands of years, naturally, they have evolved to insulate themselves well during the cold, and breathe extraordinarily well during the heat. This has created a unique fiber that contains hollow pockets to effectively trap warm or cool air. These hollow pockets also contribute to the lightness of the fiber. 

 

Softness: Alpaca fiber has an extremely soft and smooth hand. We hand select the finest fiber to go into our garments producing incredibly soft and world class garments. In general, alpaca fiber tends to be smoother and softer than that of wool. This is primarily due to much longer and dispered cuticle cells, or scales. This leads to a softer feel and less 'prickle' which is common with wool based products.

 

Hypoallergenic: Lanolin is a common skin irritant that naturally occurs in wool. It does not naturally occur in Alpaca, this lack of lanolin has caused some people to refer to alpaca as hypoallergenic. We do not disagree, as it does not contain lanolin, it lacks the skin irritant that wool contains.

 

Water Resistance: The fiber tends to be much more water resistance than equivalents like wool or cashmere. This is a primary benefit of the longer cuticle cells this in turn provides fewer opportunities for water to penetrate. Additionally, the pocketing that is present within the fiber means if it were to get wet, it would dry out exponentially quicker than other products.

 

Sustainability: We already talk a lot about sustainability in other sections of our website. If you want to find out more, we recommend reading our sustainability page.

 

We are so enthusiastic about the benefits that alpaca provides. It is clearly a superior fiber that has been underutilised until now. We went to Perú with the mission to source the finest alpaca we could, we succeded and now offer to you the finest alpaca garments in the world. 

 

Check out all of our beautiful handmade alpaca products