Before coming to Peru, I had never touched anything made from alpaca fiber, let alone worn alpaca clothing. But as soon as I slipped into our soft, luxurious women’s Angelina wrap, I understood why alpaca has become so popular.
There are many benefits of purchasing a product made from alpaca fiber. The first thing you’ll notice is the beauty of the natural, undyed colors, from rich chocolate browns to warm winter greys to vibrant ivory whites. The range of hues that can be found on the alpacas of the Andes is astonishing, and can lead to some amazing color combinations. Alpaca comes in 22 standard colors, though some have counted up to 300 variations in shade. After admiring the alpaca textile from afar, you’ll reach out to touch the fabric and immediately feel how soft it is. Alpaca, especially baby alpaca, has a unique texture that feels soft, smooth, and luxurious against the skin. It’s often softer than other types of fibers that can feel scratchy and uncomfortable, and the final product always reflects that high quality.
In comparison to sheep’s wool, alpaca fibre is lighter and warmer, creating a product that keeps you comfortable without weighing you down. Having lived for thousands of years in the high-altitude Andes, the alpaca has developed a coat that keeps it warm in the harsh freezing winters while simultaneously keeping it cool under the scorching summer sun. This gives its fiber a rare combination of qualities to make it as efficient as possible. Alpaca fiber is a natural insulator, making its cloth one of the warmest weatherproof cloths on the market. It also allows for breathability in warmer climates, and the cloth is extremely lightweight. This multi-functionality makes an alpaca fiber product perfect for every climate; whether you live in the colder regions of Canada, the unpredictable Northeastern United States, or anywhere else across the globe, these pieces will adapt to your every need!
Alpaca fiber is water, wind, and stain resistant. When wearing an alpaca poncho or scarf, you won’t feel the wind, and the rain will take a long time to penetrate the garment. It is also hypoallergenic, because it doesn’t contain lanolin, which wool does. This makes it the perfect product for those with sensitive skin, even those who are allergic to normal wool. Finally, the strength and durability that come from resisting the harsh Andean altitude make alpaca fiber dependable. It resists stretching and keeps its original shape more easily than other fibers, so you can expect a piece made from alpaca to become a family heirloom that will last for generations.
Written by Megan Malley