Alpaca is a species of camel. Like Llama, but smaller, Alpacas are gentle and inquisitive by nature from thousands of years of domestication. They have a fine, heavy fleece which occurs naturally in over 22 shades ranging from black, charcoal, silver, sand, brown and ivory making Alpaca wool ideal for Alpaca clothing. Alpaca wool clothing and other alpaca products are made from this pure natural fibre.
There are two types of Alpaca, the Huacaya and the Suri. Huacaya is the more common of the two and the fleece has a denser, fluffier appearance. Suri Alpaca wool / fibre is longer, flatter and silkier.
Native to the Andes in South America. Alpaca are related to other camelids of South America - the guanaco, the llama and the vicuña. Until the Spanish Conquistadors introduced sheep, camelid fibre was the only material available to the Andean people and as a result they have a long tradition of working with these fine fibres.
Once treasured by Inca Royalty for its unique strength, lustre and slippery softness, Alpaca wool (or alpaca hair as it is also called) has a hollow fibre which renders it uniquely light and up to 30% warmer than the same weight of merino wool.
Alpaca wool has no lanolin content which together with an absence of the 'prickle factor' associated with ordinary wool makes it ideally suited for babies and sensitive skins. It is up to 4 times harder wearing than merino wool and does not tend to pill or ball. An alpaca sweater for example can last longer than a lamb’s wool or cashmere sweater. It also comes in at least 22 natural colours.
Alpacas are not killed for their fur. The Alpaca fur is mainly from baby Alpacas - or “cria” - which have died of natural causes as the weaker animals often perish in the harsh Andean winter. Alpacas can live for 20 years, promising a lifetime of shearing potential of far greater value than a single pelt.