Alpaca fleece was in times past reserved for the royal and wealthy class. Today it is highlyought after for its many superior qualities over other fibers like wool and synthetics. It is hypoallergenic, lightweight – very light, stronger, warmer – very warm, softer and more durable than even merino wool and cashmere. It is so luxuriously soft and silky that it is sometimes compared with cashmere. It's luster is like silk, exuding beauty that adds to its coveted qualities. It is also known for water repellant and stretch characteristics (without distortion) as well as being wrinkle resistant and resistant to odors. Alpaca is so durable that with proper care it can last eloquently for generations. Garments dating back more than 2000 years in Peru have been found to be still in good condition.
Alpacas are some of the most eco-friendly animals there are. Compared with other grazing animals, their acreage and water requirements are lower. They adapt well to living in harsh environments. Instead of hooves their feet are soft pads so they leave the terrain undamaged. Since alpaca fleece is ethanol and oil free, there is no need for harsh chemicals to be used in processing the fibers. For high quality products made from natural renewable sources, alpaca has proven to be for thousands of years a perfect choice in fibers. It is 100% natural and environmentally safe.
Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber shorn every twelve to eighteen months from alpacas. Although this process itself is not normally enjoyable for them, it is harmless to them and they are visibly more comfortable after they are shorn.
Colors of the natural alpaca fleece range in shades from black to white, silver to rose gray to champagne and light fawn to mahogany. Alpacas are bred specifically for color but for those desired colors beyond the natural shades, the fleece can already be dyed to any color you choose.
To compare alpaca with sheep's wool –
- Alpaca is approximately 3 times warmer than wool
- Soft and smooth, not prickly
- Lightweight, 1/3 the weight of sheep's wool
- Hypoallergenic. It contains no lanolin as does sheep's wool. Lanolin is the factor that causes allergic reactions for those who are sensitive to wool, resulting in irritation or itching.
To compare alpaca with synthetic fabrics –
- Alpaca is breathable, superior to synthetics
- Stays warm, even when wet
- Will not pill or mat
- Windproof naturally
- Flame resistant
- Will not melt
- Minimal static electricity
- Stain resistant
- Resistant to acquired odors
- Does not hold debris
- Natural luster
- Natural fiber and biodegradable
Alpaca fleece is naturally more stain resistant than other fibers. Because of its water-resistant factor, if there is a spill, it can simply be blotted off with a clean cloth. Also static electricity contracts dirt. So because alpaca fleece naturally reduces static electricity, soil and dirt are not attracted to it. And while odors do not stain, they can be undesirable. The fleece brings odors as well.
With all the benefits of alpaca, it is no wonder that it is becoming a premium fiber highly washed after for clothing as well as blankets and throws.