WHAT IS ALPACA FIBER?
A few years ago, when I studied fashion design, one of the most fascinating works was to make a sample table of fibers, taking into account the different compositions of these were natural, artificial or organic. I remember very well that among my friends and colleagues we exchanged pieces of these as if they were cards from an album of soccer figures, but the most difficult to obtain and those that none of us had to exchange were natural animal fibers. It was a lot of fun because, like many of my friends, I had to turn to friends of friends so that, on trips to the cold zone of the country, they could collect some of this fiber. All this because he lived in a very warm area and at that time animal fibers were difficult to find.
At that time I learned what each fiber served, preferences and benefits depending on the fashion product I wanted to obtain. Among the best fibers for the sustainable clothing industry was Alpaca, which due to its fiber, its anatomical structure and its behavior are more respectful of the environment. A beautiful example of this is that their legs seem to have pillows which do not damage the soil they step on, which allows the floor and the flora they graze to remain alive continuously, unlike other animals that cause damage to the flora at walk. In addition, the way they feed is soft, tearing only the tips of the grass they feed on, which allows for light growth.
7 things you should know about Alpaca
- This fiber comes from an animal tenderness called Alpaca, it is a South American camelid raised mainly in the Andes of Peru, Chile and Argentina, preferably located at 3500 meters above sea level. The location makes its fiber more beautiful as it increases. These friendly camelids were not bred to be working animals but because of the characteristics of their fiber.
- Between 80% and 85% of this fiber is produced in Peru, it is collected by several companies that finally sell the finished fiber; For alpaqueras families it is usually a great livelihood for their economic life. Therefore, it is important to seek the growth and development of these communities that generally sell fiber at a much lower price than the final value offered by industrialized companies.
- How do you imagine that an animal like this lives? Well, definitely not alone, they live in groups and communicate a lot with each other through the gestures and the various sounds they emit. I can definitely assure you that you realize when they want to pay attention to you on a visit or if they want to ignore you, you’ll see.
- Alpaca fur is sheared once a year usually between the months of October and November, since they are the dates where the heat is most intense in the Andes. So the animals naturally need to get rid of the winter fur for a lighter one for the summer, for this procedure that has been passed from generation to generation it is not necessary to sacrifice or harm any animal.
- Once you have the loose fiber, it is classified manually according to the origin, that is, depending on the part of the body of the alpaca where it comes from. Since, likewise it will be the fineness and quality of the fiber.
- Something really beautiful is the amount of colors that are generated naturally, being 22 different shades, composed of a palette of earth color accompanied by gray, black and white tones.
- Finally, there are two races of Alpaca and they are: the Alpaca Suri, which is the elegant alpaca of the family, looks imposing with its beautiful long curly hair and has a smaller population, being only 15% of the population of Alpacas. The other breed is the Huacaya alpaca that we see in all Gifs and alpaca memes. Since, it has a very endearing physique has small ears and curly hair.