What is an Alpaca?
If you’re like most of us, you visualize something like a Llama, but cuter, fluffy and maybe with giant eyelashes similar to a Muppet. Alpacas are part of the Llama family, which mainly live in mountainous regions such as the Andes in Peru. In the winter, their super warm hair comes in handy there and in the Spring, alpacas are carefully sheared to provide us with a soft, warm and natural fiber fit for an Incan God. "Baby Alpaca" or "First Quality" are used to indicate the unparalleled softness of an alpaca’s first ever shearing.
Alpaca is produced in a variety of weaves that range from airy and delicate to tight, durable weaves as well as carded or welted fabrics. Additionally, different types of alpaca produce different feeling materials. Huacaya alpaca has a fiber that is soft, spongy and crimped which makes it an ideal wool for knitting sweaters. Wool from a Suri alpaca does not come with a crimp which makes it best for weaving. However, with today’s advancements in textile processing, alpaca can be processed in a way that creates a more consistent material.
High Quality, High Function.
The core of an Alpaca’s hair is hollow, making it very lightweight and allows the fibers to trap warmth, creating an insulating effect with your own body heat. Alpaca is four times warmer than wool, and hypoallergenic due to the absence of lanolin which occurs naturally in sheep’s wool. It is breathable, water repellent and resistant to pilling so your garment or blanket will look new for years to come. Higher quality Alpaca typically is processed in a way that removes all the guard hairs before it is converted into yarn, eliminating the itchy feeling that wool commonly causes.
Despite the high quality and softness, Alpaca is typically easy to care for. Most items can be machine washed on the delicate setting with natural detergent or baby shampoo and air dried. They can also be hand washed or dry cleaned, but always be sure to refer to the care instructions on your garment’s tag.
Sustainable Products That Last
Sustainable textiles & fashion have taken over markets in recent years, as awareness in consumers rise on the effects these industries have on our environment, as well as the quality difference compared to “fast fashion”. Personally I think all of these qualify as perfectly good reasons for the rising popularity of Alpaca textiles in recent years. It is a luxury product, which is as sustainable and practical as it is beautiful. Wouldn’t you rather spend a little more on a quality fabric that will hold up for ten years rather than two, and in the meantime, feel and function better? Most people would say yes, but the only way to know is try it for yourself.
Our Role in Sustainable Textiles
Galavant has developed relationships with artisans in India, Peru, and Mexico who make products in a traditional way, using organic materials sourced sustainably. When you buy our products, you are directly supporting artisans in these countries to make more than just a living wage. Not to mention, you gain a beautifully crafted conversation piece you can see and enjoy in your home every day.