ANIMAL WELFARE AND HUSBANDRY
Are alpacas killed for fur production?
No. No animal is harmed for the manufacturing of our products, neither during shearing nor for fur recovery. For our fur products we only use fur from animals whose lives have come to a natural end. In this way, the fur is an exclusive by-product of wool production, the use of which carries the idea of sustainability to its consequent end. Since the alpaca farmers receive a lower sales price for a single fur than for the wool of a shearing due to the downstream, complex processing of the raw material, they also have no economic motives to harm the animals.
Can you prove that the animals are not harmed? How do you verify this?
From the very beginning, we have made the treatment and welfare of animals, as well as the assumption of social responsibility, a priority as part of our corporate concept, in order to be able to guarantee an ethically unobjectionable product experience. Therefore, our partners in Peru are handpicked and personally selected by us. Our founders have in some part lived in Peru for an extended period of time to find the manufactures and partners that fit this concept. Even today, we regularly make sure through personal visits on site that these standards are met. This includes decent and good working conditions and excludes child labor. In addition, animal welfare requirements are anchored in our supplier contracts.
Under what conditions are the alpacas kept?
The alpacas live in small herds of 80 to 100 animals in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes, in their natural habitat. There they graze freely during the day in the vastness of the mountain ranges and are sheared once a year to obtain their wool and preserve their natural way of life. WEICH Couture Alpaca does not use fur or wool from industrial breeding and factory farming or from animals that are bred, kept or killed for the use of their fur, as is the case with mink or foxes. For Peruvian alpaca farmers, alpacas are of inestimable importance due to the value of their wool. With a life expectancy of up to 20 years, the sale of this wool sustains the farmers and their families for the lifetime of the animals. Their welfare, protection and health are accordingly a top priority for the farmers.
RAW MATERIAL ALPACA
What is the quality of our furs?
Our manufactures are specialized exclusively in alpaca fur and wool. For our fur products we use only the most valuable fiber quality: "Royal Alpaca". This means that the fiber thickness of our skins is less than 20 micron meters, comparable to that of cashmere or silk. This quality is regularly assured by random sampling in independent laboratory tests. In most cases, our products are tested between 15 and 17 micron meters. But it is not just the fiber quality that is crucial for our high-quality end products; it is the special finishing process we use to give this unique fiber its incomparable softness. We also use only the finest quality grade for our wool products: "Ultrafine Alpaca" (20-23 micron meters).
You offer products made of SURI Alpaca and HUACAYA Alpaca. What is the difference?
There are two types of alpacas that differ only in their fur structure: the Huacaya and the Suri. The Huacaya animals have a rather short, wonderfully dense and decidedly fluffy fur that has a magical attraction and irresistibly invites you to touch it. The Suri animals have a loose, particularly silky fur with a unique light reflection, through which a beautiful, natural shine is created and which is therefore particularly suitable for effectful decorating.
What is special about alpaca fur and wool?
The alpaca fiber is easy to maintain and has unique thermal properties, because in their natural habitat alpacas are often exposed to extreme environmental conditions and high temperature fluctuations. The fiber is hollow on the inside and therefore thermally insulating - a unique fiber property that is very warming on cold winter days and rather cooling on warm days. Alpaca naturally contains hardly any lanolin (wool grease). This makes products made of this fiber especially suitable for allergy sufferers, babies and the most sensitive skin. In addition, alpaca is dust repellent, self-cleaning and low lint and almost completely free of pilling (wool products).
Why is alpaca more sustainable than cashmere?
Alpacas are very gentle on the pasture due to their special toe shape. They graze - in contrast to cashmere goats - only above the sward and thus do not damage the roots of the grass. The pasture grows back naturally and can be grazed multiple times. With cashmere, the enormous boom of recent years has resulted in a dramatic shortage of pasture due to the desertification of the original grazing areas. In addition, alpacas are extraordinarily efficient animals with very low feed and water consumption. Due to its equivalent quality, alpaca is thus considered a more sustainable and unique alternative to the widely used cashmere.
Can you also offer your products tailor-made?
Yes, all home textiles made of alpaca fur (pillows, blankets, rugs) are handmade in our manufactory near Lima and can therefore also be manufactured according to individual customer wishes. We can take into account different dimensions, colors, but also individual shapes. The delivery time for our individually customized products is about 8-10 weeks.
Who can I contact if I notice damage to a product?
Defects that are not your fault, for example a damaged zipper, will of course be repaired or replaced by us free of charge. A short mail to email@example.com is sufficient and our customer service will contact you immediately.
CLEANING AND CARE
How sensitive is the fur and how can I clean it?
Alpaca products are uncomplicated and easy to maintain. Due to the special nature and natural robustness of the fur, alpaca products made of fur rarely need to be cleaned. There is no need to worry about damage. In order to maintain the unique properties of the fiber, we recommend for larger products an occasional shaking out in the fresh air and, if necessary, a gentle vacuuming of the alpaca fur. For smaller products, regular brushing with a wire fur brush is sufficient to maintain the natural shine. This is especially true for products made of Suri fur. In case of coarse soiling, professional cleaning is recommended.
Our products made of fine alpaca wool can be washed in the wool wash cycle with a wool detergent at lukewarm temperature (30°).
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE
What does "ethical luxury" stand for?
For us, ethical luxury is synonymous with a new, responsible and contemporary luxury - quieter, more durable and altogether more sustainable. A luxury that is equally committed to people, animals and the environment, leading away from wasted resources back to genuine quality that also goes beyond product quality. It's about a return to real values.