Alpaca fiber for its quality and properties may be a great alternative to cashmere and mohair. However, it wasn’t promoted so much than last two and for a lot of people, it’s still a question: why to buy alpaca clothes?
The answer is very simple – because its values…
Values of Alpaca fiber are the key points for positioning it as high as cashmere, so here they are:
Thermic & Encapsulating.
Living high in the mountains, alpacas accommodate with the temperatures up to -20 C (-8 F) at night and +30 C (86 F) during the day. Alpacas fiber has microscopic airbags, that keeps you warm in cold weather and light on the heat. It’s 7 times warmer than a wool.
Hypoallergic & Clean.
In compare with the wool, alpaca fiber doesn’t contain any kind of grease, while wool has a lanolin. Grease absence allows clothes to stay clean for a long time. Lots of people who a not able to wear wool because of lanolin allergy may feel happy wearing alpaca clothes.
Soft & Silky shining.
When you touch cashmere or alpaca, the first thing you are feeling is a pleasure of very soft and delicate material. And this is because of fineness of the fiber. Cashmere is the world’s thinnest fiber (19-20 microns in diameter), and Alpaca is very close to this indicator (22,5-26 microns in diameter). In addition to the esthetic pleasure of touching and wearing, alpaca textile has its natural shining that keeps even after dying.
Strong & Durable.
While alpaca textile is thin as a cashmere, it’s strong and durable material – 3 times stronger than wool. The durability of this textile is fantastic! When Peruvian mummies with an age of 2500 were found, their alpaca clothes was in pretty good condition!
Flame & Water resistant.
One more important value for winter sports lovers and trekkers is that alpaca textile is a water and flame resistant. Once you will be caught by a rain, you won’t stay in a wet sweater until the rest of the day. Due to its structure, alpaca fiber doesn’t retain water and also resistant to solar radiation. While synthetics in case of a fire will melt on the skin, alpaca won’t.
- Fiber diameter: 22,5-30 microns
- Tensile strength: 50 N/ktex
- Natural colors & shades: 22
Alpaca is a 100% domestic animal but it requires special conditions. Its natural area is Andean highlands (3800+ meters above the sea), and 10 alpacas require about one acre of territory.
Breeding is spread across private family properties of Puno region with an amount from 10 to 100 animals in each property.
Alpaca’s fiber growth rate is about 9-12 cm per year for Huacaya race and 10-20 cm for the Suri race. One animal can be sheared only once per year, or less in case of the cold year.
The quality of the alpaca wool also depends on the animal age. The best quality has a baby alpaca (that’s why almost in every store and market in Peru you will hear and see on labels “baby alpaca”, “100% baby alpaca” and so on). Baby alpaca is just a kid of alpaca, as it’s in times smaller than an adult animal its wool cost more.
These factors, as well as cashmere quality, don’t let alpaca clothes be cheap. So, if somebody offers you 100% baby alpaca for $20, be sure that it will be 100% baby acrylicpaca))) (pure acrylic).
Is alpaca a NO NAME Brand? Today it’s definitely not!
Alpaca fiber was recognised for more than 2500 years by Inca and Pre-Inca civilizations.
Today it’s recognised by worlds famous clothing brands. You may find Armani scarfs, Dior trousers, Givenchy coats, Louis Vuitton skirts and bags made from alpaca fiber. Japanese brand MUJI is also offering clothes from this rich and natural textile.