ALPACA FIBER

ALPACA FIBER

In a general sense, when Alpaca fabric is mentioned, it is important to distinguish the different types of alternatives; because, there are quite some subtle differences between the types: alpaca, Suri alpaca, baby alpaca, and new developments.

Huacaya Alpaca

When alpaca fiber is referred it is indicating the more common and usually shorn ones: the Huacaya alpacas. They are the fluffy and endearing alpacas most commonly portrayed and seen. They can be found in the Andes’ Altiplano, around 4,000 meters above sea level. Due to the fiber’s nature of growing perpendicular to the alpaca’s body, it has a bulky, dense, and smooth texture. It is estimated that Peru has 93% of the alpaca population in the world, of which, 90% is composed of Huacaya alpacas.

Suri Alpaca

Suri alpacas, on the other hand, share all physical similarities with the Huacaya alpacas but the fleece. Suri alpacas have a long, soft, and hanging fleece. The diameter of the wool thread obtained by these tender animals is smaller than the Huacaya’s; with the addition of their lustrous long fleece, it is without a doubt, a fine and exquisite fiber.

Baby alpaca, as its name implies, is not the fleece of the little ones. It is a middle layer protected by the outer thick hair and the inner, almost, the skin of the alpacas. After the cleaning and color sorting process, coat separation takes place. To avoid the inner coat mat, alpacas have thick awn hair: long straight hair between the undercoat. Brushing alpaca fur in this state will damage that undercoat structure irremediably. The separation of these two awn hairs is the difference between an alpaca and a baby alpaca.

Brands like Cornelio Borda have tested textile and fiber mixtures until they successfully attained their desired texture without canceling their sustainable and ethical background; a fabric that they named alpaca carpet: alpaca and Pima cotton. The Alpaca carpet does not contain any new animal fur; all the alpaca wool is won from remnants of clothing production in Peru. On the other hand, Pima cotton is the highest quality cotton available, harvested from tropical areas, its brand feature is its long cotton fibers that reflect on a super soft and lustrous fabric. The Pima cotton and the alpaca fabric are assembled in a hand-stitching process. Once the final thread is put together by the yarn, it is brushed to achieve a feathery look and feel. This technique comes from the Marche Region, Italy; Cornelio Borda combined it with the proficient hands of Peruvian female artisans.

Alpaca fibers are incredibly soft; largely hypoallergenic; more durable and less likely to pill than cashmere; and warmer, yet lighter, than traditional wool. It’s a new way to think about luxury, but the best part, of course, is just enjoying the hygge-worthy comforts of a downy-soft, super-warm alpaca sweater.”

Emily Farra, Vogue writer and editor

EXPLORE ITEMS MADE OUT OF ALPACA FIBER

The Peruvian design brand Fringe and Peruvian-Italian brand Cornerlio Borda uses Alpaca Fiber as main material for their garments and accesories. Find some of their pieces below:

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