Clothes Fashion

Our Top 5 Baby Alpaca Brands For Any Season

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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 conscious fashion brands. Its eco-friendliness, durability, softness and thermal qualities have made it a particular favourite amongst eco-friendly designers, and the docile alpaca is an easy animal to shear, meaning even vegans can wear this wool with peace of mind.

Here, we’ve chosen five of the best baby alpaca brands around.

Sol Alpaca

Shunning the fashion cycle, Sol Aplaca’s Peruvian made designs are meant to last for seasons – even generations. No wonder it’s a favourite brand with both luxury-loving South Americans and tourists to the region.

Tourists to Peru often won’t leave the country without one of Sol Alpaca’s gorgeously designed wraps, sweaters or scarves, but you can also order online from this tip baby alpaca brand.

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Peruvian Connection

Since 1976, Peruvian Connection has been dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of luxurious textile designs inspired by ancient traditions of the Andes. They offer the world’s most beautiful knitwear, artisan-made in soft alpaca or silky Peruvian pima cotton. There are countless reasons why alpaca fiber is so revered, but here at Peruvian Connection, it’s how the fiber has woven its way into the history of Peruvian culture that makes it so compelling and endearing.

Five times a year, they produce a new and entirely original collection of garments for women and men, including exquisite, one-of-a-kind art knits. Their fashion-forward designs are perfect for women who appreciate luxury and fine craftsmanship.

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Plum of London

Creating simple scarves, cowls, blankets and children’s wear, Plum of London is the top brand for top Brits with plummy accents. Whilst it has relied on staples for kids for several years now, the brand has recently introduced sweaters and scarves for adults, too. The high quality, dazzling colours and classic designs from this baby alpaca brand has gained it features in the best British magazines like Vogue and Tatler.

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Samantha Holmes

Dedicated to Fair Trade principles, this Scottish designer is passionate about providing those who provide her with alpaca fibres with a sustainable livelihood.

Samantha Holmes designs offers buttersoft clothing for babies, and her range of toasty bed socks and hot water bottles ensure that chills will be kept at bay even during the coldest winter nights.

Although Samantha does use alpaca fur in some of her work, it is important to note that because alpacas are worth far more alive than dead, all her fur comes from animals that have died naturally, as opposed to being killed for their coats.

For more information, please click here.

Baby Alpaca Brands Baby Alpaca Brands

Purl Alpaca Designs

This purely European baby alpaca brand uses British reared alpaca for its fibres, which are then spun and knitted by British craftsmen and women to make clothing that is perfect for–you guessed it–the highly variable British weather! Thick cable knits, fine scarves and even alpaca yarn are all sold internationally on Purl’s site.

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Chere Di Boscio

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Victor
    Apr 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Hello,

    Congrats for this article.
    In Spain there is a new brand and fashion designer focused on alpaca yarn for high fashion designs. Their website is still under construction, but there is a video of her first collection on YouTube called Mother Earth.

    The brand: ARMATTA
    The site: http://www.armatta.es
    YouTube: ARMATTA Mother Earth 2017

    Thank you.

  • Reply
    Beth Koch
    Jan 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Alpaca and fiber bearing animals are not “killed” for their fiber (please correct the Samantha Holmes article above). These animals are given an annual ‘haircut’ by shearers. The hair/fur/wool may be trimmed with scissors, shears, or electric clippers–just like a barber. These animals are dependent upon human beings to keep their fiber (wool/fur/hair) from becoming matted and unmanageable. Some fiber bearing animals naturally shed their fiber. For example cashmere goats: Annually the down naturally sheds or “breaks” and the shepherd gently combs the down (the short soft fibers) away from the rest of the longer fiber which remains attached and doesn’t shed. In some locations the shepherd “roos” the animals rather than cutting the fiber. Rooing is a technique of gently removing fiber from an animal by hand. The down fiber of some animals (including cashmere goats and angora rabbits) completely separates from the longer fiber; the animals shed their fiber annually. The down fibers are gently plucked from the fleece–this process is natural and not painful as the down and longer fibers slip across each other. Fiber should never be ripped away from the animal’s skin.

    • Reply
      Chere
      Jul 17, 2018 at 10:09 pm

      Hi Beth
      Yes, I know – Samantha Holmes uses alpaca fur from her animals that have died, it’s not fibre that is being harvested here. She makes use of the animal upon its natural death at the end of its lifespan 🙂

  • Reply
    Ditch the Dry Cleaner! How To Care For Luxury Fibres Naturally - Eluxe Magazine
    Nov 3, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    […] care of it as they start to realise how it tends to outperform other fabrics. Alpaca is amongst the strongest, softest, lightest and most sustainable of wools, because it is naturally free of lanolin and other oils found in sheep’s wool. No harsh […]

  • Reply
    The Ethics Of Vicuña, The Most Expensive Sustainable Fibre On Earth - Eluxe Magazine
    Nov 26, 2018 at 4:27 am

    […] small, sweet natured cousins of the alpaca live in the  Andean plateaus of South America, where they produce a fleece so soft and fine, only […]

  • Reply
    Adele Halsall
    May 31, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    “…the docile alpaca is an easy animal to shear, meaning even vegans can wear this wool with peace of mind.“

    Do you even know what a vegan is?? Vegans don’t believe that the use of animals, for food, clothing or anything else, is ever okay when there are perfectly adequate man-made alternatives. These animals are bred, enslaved and exploited purely for their fur. No matter how “easy” it is to take something from an animal, a vegan won’t endorse it. And since when is how “easy” something is an indicator of its moral correctness?

    I really wish people would do their research before writing articles like this, all in the name of ‘fashion’. No matter how “trendy” alpaca fur is, it will always belong to the alpaca.

    • Reply
      Chere Di Boscio
      Jun 1, 2020 at 1:47 am

      Hi Adele, thanks for your comments! I am a vegan and I wear alpaca because I live in the Peruvian Andes, where they are native. They wander around all over the mountains, and their long, long hair is often cut and made into wool. I have seen it done, and it’s no different than us getting a haircut. If it is done in this way, I see nothing wrong with it. It’s basically like brushing your cat or dog. These animals are not kept in barns, nor are they tied up. They roam freely and when their hair is cut, they don’t seem to mind at all. I’m not sure how it is in other places, but in Peru wearing alpaca wool is about as vegan friendly as keeping a cat or dog (I know there are some vegans who are against that, too…)

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