Threads of Peru’s line of alpaca ponchos, part of our Quechua Collection are rooted in Andean culture and steeped in history. The Andean poncho is a traditional item of Andean dress that may date back to some of the earliest pre-Incan cultures. The poncho is composed of two rectangular pieces of fabric woven on the backstrap loom, each piece the width of the weaver’s body. The two pieces are subsequently sewn together, leaving an opening in the middle of the seam for the head to pass through. When worn, the poncho covers most of the upper body, protecting one from the cold, while still allowing free movement of the hands and arms.
The alpaca ponchos in the Quechua Collection are further finished by a special woven edging with fringe that is sewn on after the main body of the poncho is woven, which can be seen on this Carolina Ruana
Weaving in the Andes is very regional, with each community or region featuring its own take on the style in terms of colours, shape, style and patterns. In some communities, the poncho is very short, barely covering a man’s shoulders, while others are long enough almost to reach the knees! The ALEJANDRO poncho features traditional pallay (woven symbols) from ,Chaullacocha where it is woven, all in rich shades of natural, undyed alpaca fibre – sourced from the community itself! The SOUTH AMERICAN poncho, however, also woven in Chaullacocha, features a much more modern aesthetic – simple, sleek and elegant.
While ponchos are typically part of an Andean man’s dress, we at Threads of Peru have brought the traditional alpaca poncho into the realm of women’s fashion as well! The CAROLINA ruana and ANGELINA wraps are a type of alpaca poncho that is open in the front, as a ruana, so that it may be wrapped around yourself. More traditional in design, the CHASKA women’s alpaca poncho features a timeless, modern design, accented by the ch’aska – star – woven pattern at the edges.
So men and women, don’t be shy! Wrap yourself in the warmth of the Andes this winter with an alpaca poncho, and feel the connection it brings to this amazing place.