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 serves as a natural thermostat by using microscopic air pockets to trap body heat in cooler temperatures and to release heat in warmer weather.
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.
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 hypoallergenic 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 animals are docile and friendly, easy to keep and fun to farm.