Why Alpaca Is the Most Sustainable Fibre
The year has just begun, and I am proud to say that I’ve already crossed one of my goals off the list: I’ve cuddled with alpacas.
Peru is the largest producer and exporter of alpaca fibre, but if you live in Europe you don’t have to go so far away. Since alpaca is becoming one of the most sustainable fibres on Earth, more and more European farmers turn to these impossibly cute (and sustainable!) animals. Last weekend we spent in Cantabria, the northern region of Spain, and visited an eco-friendly alpaca farm. In this blog post I will take you through different stages of creating a product to show you why I think alpaca is the most sustainable fibre.
Alpacas belong to the family of camelids, which produces way less methane than ruminants (cattle, sheep, goat). Alpacas eat, drink and poop very little. They don’t need a lot of space, which saves the rainforest and allows a farmer to start the business even with one hectare of land. This type of farming does not require harsh chemicals - this means it’s completely natural and environment-friendly. Alpacas have soft hooves and, unlike ruminants, don’t destroy plants and trees.
These animals are very social and sensitive to stress, so a mean careless farmer won’t do well: if you want your business to grow, you must be an empathetic person that treats animals with respect. We’ve seen the farm with our own eyes, and I’m telling you - the alpacas were happy. If reincarnation is true, please make me an alpaca on that farm in Cantabria.
Alpacas are usually shorn annually in the months of May to July. The shearer is well-trained and uses electric shears gently (because you can’t stress an alpaca, remember?). Then the animals are released to wander the fields again. Alpacas live around 20 years, and it’s in a farmer’s best interest to let the animals live as long as possible, because they regrow the wool every year.
Alpaca is warmer, stronger, lighter and softer than cashmere and merino wool! Garments made of alpaca fibre are less likely to shrink and pill. The fibre is hyper allergenic and quite water resistant (alpacas on my photos look wet, but if you dive your hand in their fluffy coat, it’ll be dry). Since alpacas feel perfectly fine in both high and low temperatures - your alpaca sweater will be helping your body to regulate its temperature.
Traditional Peruvian textiles prove its durability: some of the garments are 2000 years old and still keeping the shape and color.
Alpaca dyes beautifully, but I just don’t see the point of it! Alpacas provide the biggest range of natural colours out of all the natural fibres. There are 22 color variations: white, beige, brown, grey, black and all the natural shades in between.
If you have a design in mind, I highly recommend contacting the alpaca farm we’ve visited. The people running this farm are also artisans that can make-to-order a beautiful scarf or a sweater for you. Feel free to contact them in English or Spanish.
Alpacas are perfect. Their fibre is perfect. It’s a sustainable business that produces high-quality eco-friendly clothes and makes everybody happy!
Please message me on Instagram or use the contact form on the blog if you have any concerns or questions. I will answer them all. And I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the article. Looking forward to hear your feedback!