Dec 26, 2013 Clothes, Fashion
By Arwa Lodhi
A longtime staple of Andean cultures, the alpaca has been used for its wool for over 6,000 years. And no wonder: alpaca wool is not only soft and warm, it’s naturally anti-bacterial, stain resistant, easy to clean, doesn’t shrink or pill like cashmere or wool, wicks away moisture, is lightweight and resists wrinkling. Unlike wool, it never feels damp or holds a musty smell, and certainly never irritates skin or itches.
In fact, when the Spanish Conquistadores arrived centuries ago in Peru, they found a civilisation that was based on alpaca textiles–the Inca people made everything from clothing to bridges to roofs from super-sturdy alpaca fibres, and they even recorded their wealth in patterns of cloth knots.
However, blinded by gold, silver and precious stones, the Spanish failed to appreciate the true value of the fabric, and in an effort to conquer the alpaca-dependant Inca, they ordered the slaughter of the prized animals. By some accounts, up to 90% of the alpacas in South America were slaughtered and left to rot in the fields– a small number of these animals were saved, but herding and textile making techniques were greatly diminished.
Thankfully today, with a stronger focus on ecological materials and animal kindness, the alpaca has made a huge comeback with fashion brands. Its eco-friendliness, durability, softness and thermal qualities have made it a particular favourite amongst eco-friendly designers, and we’ve chosen five of the best.
One of our favourite brands at Eluxe, Arlette Lee is fully dedicated to ecological sustainability and Fair Trade, and also offers unique designs in baby alpaca: the Ruana, a cape/coat hybrid, and the SnugaLee, a very practical accessory which can be worn as a cowl, scarf, head covering or shoulder warmer.
- See more at: http://eluxemagazine.com/fashion/top-5-baby-alpaca-brands/