Alpaca wool originates from the fleece of the alpaca (Lama pacos). Alpacas are close relatives of the llama and were first bred for their wool in the South American Andes around 5000 BC. In these ancient Incan times, alpaca fibre was used to make clothes for royalty and was known as “the fibre of the gods”. There are two main breeds of alpaca; the Huacaya alpaca which has a dense and curly crimped coat, and the Suri alpaca which has more lustrous but less curly hair that hangs down the body with a middle part down its back. Alpaca wool is naturally black, brown, white or grey and the various colours are often used together remaining undyed, although alpaca fabric can be cross-dyed after weaving.
Alpacas are generally shorn annually. The best alpaca wool generally comes from the blanket around the shoulders, neck and rump of the animal. Once it has been shorn, the alpaca wool fibres are spun into yarns from which they can be woven into fabrics.
Properties and qualities
As it is such a naturally warm fibre, alpaca wool is an ideal material for bedding and clothing. Due to it being durable and lightweight, it also makes blankets that are optimal for winter and for travelling and camping. As a hypo-allergenic fibre, it is a great choice for children and allergy-prone adults.
How does it feel?
Due to the fineness of alpaca fibres, alpaca wool is extremely soft and can feel just as soft to touch as cashmere.
We recommend dry cleaning alpaca wool products. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your alpaca wool product.