In times of superfood and protein shakes, hyperloops, and autonomous electric cars, the question of that arises automatically perfect fabric. Incredibly beautiful in appearance, especially in haptic, unique in its properties – and ideally environmentally friendly. Does the alpaca fiber have what it takes to become the new “super fiber”?
Let’s start with optics. The alpaca animals come in 22 natural colors which is very unique! This color spectrum enables a variable colour palet of exclusively natural (!) colours. From snow white to beige and from brown to black. Although about 80-85% the alpaca animals are white, all other colors can also be found in nature. This diversity is reflected in both products made from alpaca wool (the processed material of a shorn animal) as well as alpaca fur (the by-product of a naturally deceased animal). Here again, we differentiate between the two types of fur: Huacaya and Suri. While the dense, fluffy Huacaya is an incredible haptic experience when cuddling, the silky, loose Suri sets in scene especially the natural shine of the alpaca fiber.
Speaking of feel: like most others fabrics, the alpaca fiber also exists in different quality levels, which represent a clear difference in feel. This fiber quality is measured in fiber thickness. There is low-quality, coarse alpaca with a fiber thickness of around 30 microns (comparable to sheep wool) on one hand, but also very fine alpaca with a fiber thickness of fewer than 20 microns (comparable to silk) on the other. WEICH Couture Alpaca only offers the highest quality level “Royal Alpaca” with a fiber thickness of fewer than 18 microns. If we now exclusively concentrate on this high fiber quality, the alpaca fiber creates an incomparable, haptic experience – especially with the Huacaya type. If you blow lightly into the fur, you will find a crimped structure inside the fiber, the so-called “crimp”. A proof for highest quality. Even if alpaca wool is very high quality and, above all, a rarer alternative to the well-known cashmere fabric, the real haptic experience only comes to the foreground with the fur products. Fur products of unprecedented softness. There is simply no animal whose fur feels comparably soft. No rabbit, no fox, no mink.
In addition, alpaca fiber naturally has a wide variety of unique properties. Alpaca fiber was originally valued by the royal families of the Incas for its natural sheen, its robustness, and its incomparable softness. The alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic and therefore ideally suited for allergy sufferers, babies, and sensitive skin types. In addition, the alpaca fiber hardly contains lanolin, the classic wool fat, which is why it is both dust and sweat-repellent. It is therefore a fiber that is self-cleaning to a high degree. Thus, in addition to its exclusivity, the alpaca fiber has unique properties and is therefore ideally suited to sophisticated homes as well as upscale hotels and restaurants.
Furthermore, the alpaca fiber is hollow on the inside, which in turn allows a one-time heat compensation. Alpaca fiber can develop a cooling character in summer, whereas in winter, pleasant heat storage takes place and the extra warmth on the skin can be felt immediately. Thus the alpaca fiber is considered to be around 30% warmer than conventional merino wool. These properties make the alpaca fiber in the confection to a now very popular alternative at the foot of the Cashmere hypes.
As if all of this wasn’t enough to qualify for the term “super fibre”, the alpaca fibre also has the optimal prerequisites for serving the megatrends sustainability and environmental friendliness. Alpacas have been strongly domesticated animals for many generations and are therefore kept almost exclusively for breeding. The annual shearing and its associated extraction of high-quality alpaca wool is the primary source of income for every alpaca farmer. Factory farming? Not at all! The average herd size amounts to 80-100 animals, which are mostly kept by an isolated alpaca farmer in the highlands of the Andes. As a result, alpacas are highly efficient animals that require significantly less land and water for breeding than cashmere goats or sheep. Alpaca does not damage the sward, so that new land can emerge on the already grazed land.
The tendency becomes apparent – while we are desperately looking for the perfect food, for the perfect means of transportation in a hectic world – in the textile sector, alpaca can undoubtedly be described as “super fibre”. WEICH Couture Alpaca is considered a pioneer for alpaca fur products, the non-plus-ultra in the home textile industry. The fur of the 21st century.