When most people think of a soft, stylish luxury fiber their minds tend to venture into the world of cashmere apparel. However, alpaca has been steadily gaining ground growing in popularity as a high-end resource for high-fashion designers and savvy people who appreciate high-quality clothing. In fact, when really delving into the integrity of cashmere and alpaca, there are numerous reasons why alpaca has gotten a firm foothold as another premium luxury option. Here are four of them.
Imagine a sweater that is amazingly durable yet silky and soft to the touch. Alpaca offers near-cashmere softness with a extraordinarily long life. Alpaca wool is similar to sheep’s wool, but warmer and softer. It’s also extremely stain-repellent. Formerly, alpaca fleece was separated by species, depending on the which kind of apparel was being made. For example, Huacaya alpaca grows spongy soft fiber with a natural crimp making it ideal for knitted sweaters while Suri alpaca has no crimp and it therefore ideal for woven items. Now, advanced industrial spinning techniques achieve uniform qualities based on fiber length and thickness.
Eco-aware clothing is gaining popularity; consumers are more cognizant to the various environmental impacts that touch humanity through all corners of our world. Because alpaca production goes hand-in-hand with conservation, pollution reduction, and sustainability, green-conscious buyers choose alpaca sweaters over cashmere in order to help reduce their carbon footprint. When you buy alpaca clothing you also speak up for animal rights, as alpaca are one of the world’s oldest livestock and roam naturally in their environment while being happy to give up their thick annual growth in the most humane and pain-free method. Likewise, the long life of alpaca garments is the direct opposite of wasteful “flash fashion” that is used for a few months and then thrown away.
Cashmere used to be sported on every fashion runway, but today top fashion labels incorporate alpaca fleece into their line for its luxurious allure. Armani and Brunello Cucinelli use alpaca wool to make suits while Sergio Davila, a Peruvian native, places his homeland center stage at New York’s fashion week by including an entire line of alpaca clothing. Other brands to use alpaca include Prada, Yves Saint Laurent, and Gucci.
Finally, alpaca is an excellent purchase due to its economic and environmental sustainability. Thousands of alpacas are raised by small ranches and family farms throughout Peru. When you buy alpaca sweaters, hats and scarfs your purchase helps to support those families and enable them to stay on their land in their traditional lifestyle. Your purchases also help to provide needed cash to the rural economy, because as these family farms prosper, so too do the businesses and farmers who help supply alpaca ranches. The next time you put on an alpaca sweater crack a smile and pat yourself on the back because, not only did your purchase make your own world a bit more beautiful, it also helped make the bigger world a slightly better place.
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