Cold weather is coming, and it’s time to refresh your wardrobe and replace them bubbly, worn jumper for something new. Now if you’re looking for something quick and easy you will probably head towards the local fast fashion store and purchase a synthetic wool garment. And then if you’re looking for something more luxurious and greater quality probably either cashmere or merino wool is first thoughts which comes to mind.
Well perhaps I can introduce you an alternative, Baby Alpaca Wool!
Brief history and background
Alpacas originating from Peru, where they graze at elevations of 10,000 to 14000 feet. Their thick coats have been utilised for thousands of years with the wool from baby alpacas in particular, being considered so luxurious that it was once reserved for Inca royalty.
Find out more about history of Alpacas here.
The fleece of Alpacas is harvested annually in a humane way by shearing them in similar way to how sheep are shorn each spring. Baby Alpaca wool comes from the underside of the neck of the alpaca, where the fleece is the finest and softest. The fleece that is sheared in the first clip, generally when the alpacas are under one-year-old, is classified as baby alpaca wool. As it’s an expensive and luxurious fibre, baby alpaca wool is often blended with other fabrics such sheep wool.
Cashmere ‘s sustainability
Cashmere is not sustainable, it’s an environmental issue. The grasslands in China cannot support the hungry goats required to keep stores stocked with cashmere products. The over grazing of goats, and climate change has caused an negative effect on the grasslands, with the goats sharp hooves destroying top soil and nibbling plants close to the root.
Natural cashmere is really expensive and rare to find, often what you find in the shops is of lower quality, because lack of sourcing. For example a 200 euro cashmere jumper after 10 uses can often change shape and pill.
On the other hand Alpacas living mostly in the highlands of Peru have far less fragile ecosystem. The environmental footprint of an alpaca is far lighter than cashmere goats. The alpaca are also more efficient than goats, they drink less water and can grow enough wool for four or five sweaters in a year. It takes four goats the same amount of time to produce sufficient cashmere for a single sweater.
Although it is important to think of the suitability of product we buy it also has to match and succeed our current choice. Well baby Alpaca wool certainly comes out on top with benefits of choice.
The baby alpacas wool is the warmest fibre, containing microscopic air pockets which keeping you insulated as well as breathable. This balance between warmth and breathability offers natural moisture control, which help keeps your body at a healthy temperature. Even though its super insulated, the air pockets help reduce the weight, equaling a versatile lightweight quality.
It addition, its super durable mainly due to alpacas natural tough living conditions. The alpacas fibers do not mat or pile (get bubbly) compared to cashmere and merino wool.
Super soft is the only word which can be used when describing it. Baby Alpaca has the feel of a super luxurious oily skin texture, non-comparing comfort against your skin.
The fibers offers a natural lack of lanolin which can attribute to itchiness and discomfort. The hypoallergenic nature of the baby alpaca wool makes it very unlikely to get an allergic reaction from the wool.
Buying Baby Alpaca
Many so called baby alpaca products are not truly 100% baby alpaca yarn. Make sure you read the label, and have better understand of how your jumper is being made. Baby Alpaca is not cheap, Fairtrade price for the producers is 100-150 Eur/per kg.
Take a look at our Pure Touch Collection which is 100% pure baby alpaca wool here.