People who care about fashion generally look for the same benefits: luxury, affordability and quality. Alpaca sweaters deliver on all three of these, yet there is much more to this magical fiber that makes it a popular favorite. At Invisible World we travel to Bolivia and Peru to source this precious, rare fiber in the form of sweaters for both men and women. Our alpaca sweaters are silky and soft, they never pill or age, and they are more affordable than cashmere.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about alpaca sweaters and the mysterious animal that graces mankind with its illustrious fibers can be read right here. From the origins of alpaca to the subject of why you should buy alpaca sweaters, we cover all the popular topics people care about surrounding alpaca fibers and the thoughtful culture that intermingles this fashionable item.
Alpaca sweaters are spun from a rare fiber that hails from a New World strain of the camel family. Found in the Andes Mountains at altitudes between 11,000 and 16,000 feet, alpaca are farmed in their natural environment meant to roam and exist as Mother Nature intended. Despite the fact alpaca dwell freely, they are not wild animals. These ethereal creatures have been bred for more than a millennia likely dating all the way back to the vicuna--their smaller cousin. For thousands of years alpaca fibers have been a trade item for communities in and around the Andes. Various cultures traded their goods; the high-altitude Tihaunaco people traded with warmer, coastal climates, for example. When you buy alpaca sweaters, you are continuing a trading culture that goes back more than 1000 years.
There are two breeds of alpaca: the Huacaya and Suri alpaca. Both breeds live in herds where they graze. Most alpaca sweaters are sourced from fibers originating from Peru and Bolivia, though alpaca also exist in Ecuador and Northern Chile. Alpaca are bred specifically for their fiber; they are not a working animal, nor are they bred for their meat. Alpaca sweaters are the most frequently produced items from these luxurious fibers, though other goods are also made. Alpaca socks, blankets, hats, scarves, coats, ponchos and gloves are also commonly found by fine alpaca sweater sellers.
When you wear alpaca sweaters you may be surprised to learn that these fibers came from highly social animals that excel in bodily communication. When fearful, stressed or in trying to show dominance, alpaca will spit. Males are far more aggressive than females, as it is their nature to establish dominance within a herd. Despite the fact that cultures like the Aymara and Quecha call alpaca “our silent brothers”, these animals are quite vocal. If you ever hear them humming they are likely bored or lonely. Based on the hummin’s pitch, they can also express the feeling of being overheated, cold, worries, in pain, or afraid. If you ever hear an alpaca make a clucking sound, they likely want to be your friend. Alpacas will snort if their space is being invaded, and if they are “having a date night”, they will make orgling sounds. Alpacas also move their ears to communicate feelings. When they go flat they are often happy or experience a pleasure, such as being fed. Next time you wear an alpaca sweater, you may not want to hum and spit at your guests, but feeling the energy within the fibers of such a social selection of animals adds to the overall experience of owning alpaca apparel.
If you have a green mentality, alpaca sweaters will meet and exceed your expectations in buying products that promote a cleaner, greener world. When you buy from reputable alpaca sweater retailers like Invisible World, you support fair trade principles between sellers and suppliers. These companies always honor Peruvian environmental obligations while ensuring that family farms are paid fair labour wages. This ethos helps to facilitate the continuum of family farming traditions that date back as far as 1000 years thus supporting full sustainability.
High-quality retailers source fibers to make alpaca sweaters through providers that adhere to eco-friendly manufacturing. These are the farmers who allow alpaca to live freely in their natural environment, When it is time to harvest the fiber, alpacas are hand-shorn where their fleece is spun without any industrial machinery that release pollutants into the environment. Alpaca sweaters often come in their original colors, but when dye is used, it is naturally free of chemicals. Alpaca also have soft hooved feet meaning that when they tread the earth, they are literally being kind and gentle leaving no wear and tear.
Who said having a god-complex is a bad thing? If after donning an alpaca sweater makes you feel like you are King of the World, you are not alone. During the Incan civilization, wearing alpaca fibers was specifically reserved to members of royalty and the nobility. During the period from 1200AD to 1532 AD, the Incan royal family could be seen wearing alpaca clothing; fibers woven into colorful rectangles of cloth that were draped or wrapped around the body. Royalty and nobility also wore brilliantly crocheted four-corner alpaca hats. Today, archaeologists continue to excavate ancient grave sites where these hats are found, fully intact.
One of many reasons why both men and women love to buy alpaca sweaters is because their favorite fashion labels use these fibers in their fall and winter collections. Designers like Dior, Hugo Boss, Prada, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci have used alpaca fibers from Peru and Bolivia to design attractive sweaters, jackets, coats, hats, gloves and scarves. Before fashion designers began using alpaca, the fiber was incorrectly referred to as “the poor man’s cashmere”. While alpaca is more affordable than cashmere, it’s luxurious look and feel is by no means second class. High-end couture brands must use extreme caution when selecting materials for fear of damaging their brand’s status as a luxurious player. That said, you will be hard-pressed to find the Guccis and Pradas of the fashion world using poor-quality materials. The fact that the diamond players of the fashion industry continue to source alpaca fibers to make sweaters, hats and scarves testifies to the universal approval and praise of this material.
Whether you enjoy the rustic ranch look, a modern minimalist sleek apparel design, or a contemporary cozy vibe, alpaca sweaters come in a variety of cuts. Women definitely have more choices in selecting the perfect alpaca sweater than men. Women’s alpaca sweaters come in hip-length and knee-length varieties. Women also have the option to buy alpaca shawls and ruanas. But hand-woven baby alpaca shawls only crack the surface when it comes to completing a stylish women’s wardrobe. Invisible World offers a wide variety of alpaca sweaters for women. From reversible baby alpaca cardigans that offer two looks in one, to stylish alpaca pullovers, there are a number of styles for any occasion.
Men also have quite the range to choose from in alpaca sweaters, including color, design and style. For guys who want a modern chic look one of the most popular options includes the elegant retro-style alpaca cardigan. Invisible World offers this alpaca cardigan with gray pinstripes and a polo collar. It also has a metal zipper at the bottom of the lapel giving it a touch of modern industrial and leaves the V-neck with piping on the edges. Men also love Scandinavian style alpaca sweaters, along with the classic pullover in rich colors and patterns.