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, and they never pill, making them a luxurious but durable item that will look like new for years.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about alpaca sweaters and this mysterious animal and its illustrious fibers can be read right here. From the origins of alpaca to why you should buy alpaca sweaters, we'll give you the low-down about alpaca fibers and the ancient culture that creates this fashionable item.
Alpaca sweaters are spun from a rare fiber that comes 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 and roam as Mother Nature intended. Despite the fact that 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. Highland cultures like the Inca and Tihuanaco traded alpaca fiber and weavings for coastal products such as cotton. . When you buy alpaca sweaters, you are continuing a trading culture that goes back more than 2000 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, ruanas, hats, scarves, coats, ponchos and gloves are also commonly sold 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 care about how your purchases impact the earth, know that alpaca sweaters are a positive force in promoting a more sustainable world. When you buy from reputable alpaca sweater retailers like Invisible World, you support fair trade principles between sellers, knitters and suppliers. Our Peruvian Fair Trade partners honor Peruvian environmental obligations while ensuring that family farms receive wages that help them stay on the land. This ethos helps to facilitate the continuum of ancient family farming traditions are in harmony with the environment.
High-quality yarn porducers source fibers through providers that adhere to eco-friendly animal husbandry practices. 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, further reducing the footprint that comes with dyeing yarns. 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 have ample opportunity to select the perfect alpaca sweater than men. Women’s alpaca cardigans 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 sylish men's alpaca hoodie. For the more traditional guy, we have Nordic-style alpaca sweaters, along with the classic pullover in rich colors and patterns.