The alpaca member of the Camelid family are becoming increasingly adorned and highly cherished throughout the world whilst the true cost of cashmere is being exposed. Alpacas are extremely lovable, completely endearing and some may go as far to say as ‘cute’ animals which thanks in part to the Peruvian Trade Commission and Plum of London (!), are becoming more prevalent in western society than ever before.
The popularity of alpaca fibre has arrived at an apt time – the widespread availability of cashmere (wool spun from the soft hairs of the Asian cashmere (Kashmir) goats, is not sustainable.
Whilst the cost of cashmere to the consumer has decreased since the yarn went from exclusive luxury, most often knitted in Scotland, to mainstream in the late 1990’s, the quality has worsened.
Whilst brands are launching their AW17/18 Collections, it is clear that alpaca is becoming inreasingly popular in the fashion industry. Alpaca has been represented on the catwalk by Versace and Louis Vuitton, whilst the US denim label Simon Miller, has created a pure alpaca sweater exclusively for Mr Porter here in the UK.
Demand from world brands is wrought – mills in Europe and Asia buy up their require quota of alpaca yarn from Peru in haste and this has created waiting lists for the yarn fondly known as ‘The Gold of The Andes’ in some circles.Peruvian mills have witnessed an increase in alpaca consumption and these mills are currently preparing orders for cluents in Japan, the US, Korea and Europe. Some brands including Ralph Lauren wil have alpaca which has been spun on cones, sent directly to their mills in China in readines for their new collections.
Alpaca is a natural fibre like cashmere, that looks and handles incredible and totally luxurious. There are various grades (qualities) of alpaca yarn but all are more durable than cashmere, whilst some is even softer, warmer and possesses many more attributes and benefits. As the term ‘The Gold of the Andes’ suggests, the Incas placed a higher value on alpaca fibre than even gold or silver.
There are arguably up to 29 natural colours that alpaca fleece comes in from the simple black and ivory to auburn and white whilst the fibre possesses a lustrous handle and creates a natural drape basting impeccable credentials – on paper alpaca possesses more benefits, attributes and benefits than all other yarns, both natural and synthetic. It’s just a matter of using expert craftsmanship and employing artisan skills to create alpaca knitwear and woven accessories to create pieces that do justice to its many, many attributes.
The increase in alpaca’s popularity is not only good for us, it’s also extremely good news for the planet. To explain why, please read our next post which justify this claim but to better understand why, visit in the meantime: http://www.plumoflondon.com/why-alpaca.php