Alpaca + Vicuña
Where Luxury Meets Sustainability
About Alpaca from Peru
Peru has a long history of textile production, beginning over five thousand years ago with weavers from pre-Inca and Incan cultures.
Today, these ancient techniques, mixed with a modern and competitive manufacturing industry, have made Perú a hub for high quality textile production.
Peru is home to nearly 80% of the world’s total Alpaca yarn production and in recent years has become a production hub for top international brands across Europe and the United States such as Gucci, Prada Ralph and Lauren.
Peruvian Alpaca is world renowned its softness and versatility. Alpaca fiber has a natural range of 22 colors and a silk-like texture as well as being hypoallergenic.
Alpacas are native to the Andes mountain range, which runs through the heart of Peru. Amid the soaring peaks, Alpacas reside at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters or just over 13,000 feet.
In sweaters, ponchos or coats, Alpaca yarns have special breathable properties, which are cooling in warm weather and trap warmth in cold weather.
Alpaca comes from the South of Perú, where breeders tend to the animals in rural mountainous regions around Puno and Cusco.
After the animals are sheered, their fur is taken to be processed in Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city which is home to the nation’s traditional textile industry.
As a major source of local economic development for rural communities, Alpaca’s are able to live in their natural environment, before being sheered in a sustainable manner.
There are two main breeds of Alpaca , Huacaya (the most common type of alpaca, which makes up 85% of yarns) & Suri (which makes up approximately 15% of alpaca fibers).
Both of these breeds have their own characteristics, which translate to the final garment including their touch, appearance and elasticity.
Textile Production in Peru
Peru’s textile industry offers the fashion world: high-quality production for a reasonable price, optimum lead-times, minimums that are viable for brands of all sizes & a deep commitment to sustainability.
Our products and services embody the principles of fair trade through respect and equity. This creates equitable commercial conditions for stakeholders throughout the value chain: from fiber production, to yarn, fabric and tailoring.
Peruvian manufacturers are known for their quality, consistency and affordability. With a wide range of manufacturers with experience producing for an international market, brands and designers can find a production partner no matter their size.
Peru also has an enviable trade deal with the United States, wherein Alpaca & Pima Cotton garments that are made in Peru do not have any US duties.
This agreement makes Peru a high-quality and affordable location for textile production, especially when compared to taxes and duties that are levied on goods from China or Europe.
If you are interested in producing textiles in Perú, our office can answer general questions and connect you with factories, designers & production managers, to help make your project a reality!
For more information on knitwear production in Peru visit ALPACA DEL PERU
Perú also hosts a bi-annual sourcing trade show called PerúModa, which takes place in Lima and a rotating location within the United States. The show features some of the nations best textile factories and manufacturers, making it convenient for brands to meet potential production partners.
For more information on PerúModa please visit PERU MODA.
While Perú is famous for its Alpaca, it is also home to several native animals whose fiber has been used in garments for centuries.
One of these is animals is the Vicuña, a small camelid in the same family as Llama, Alpacas & Guanacos. These tiny creatures weigh approximately 100 pounds and stand 3 feet tall.
Unlike other species, Vicuñas have not been domesticated for their hair, and instead can be found in the wild throughout the Peruvian highlands.
While Vicuña has been coveted for generations, Peru has taken steps to protect the species and help it repopulate to healthy numbers, from the brink of extinction in the mid 20th century.
They are known for their ultra soft and resilient hair which can be sustainably sheared and is favored by exclusive luxury designers in the United States & Europe.
This extremely high quality fiber comes at a steep price though, with a vicuña jacket can going for as much as $20,000, and suits over $40,000 from top brands such as Ermenegildo Zenga and Loro Piana.
In the US you can find premium vicuña apparel at luxury retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
Busting 10 Common Myths About Alpaca
MYTH: Alpaca is not luxurious enough
FACT: Alpaca is a high-quality fiber with top designers around the world using Peruvian Alpaca in their collections, such as Prada, Isabel Marant, Jenni Kayne, Jonathan Simkhai, Ulla Johnson, Tibi, Nicholas K, to name a few
MYTH: Alpaca is so heavy and only good for winter sweaters
FACT: Alpaca is about 10% lighter than cashmere. With the semi-hollow core of its fibers, Alpaca can attain tissue-light weights. Alpaca fibers innately have thermal regulating properties due to microscopic air pockets, bringing the wearers temperature down on warm days and trapping body heat on cool ones, making it ideal to wear and enjoy 4 seasons of the year as well for activewear and “to and from” activity apparel.
MYTH: Can Peru’s Alpaca industry handle my business?
FACT: Peru is home to 80% of the global population of Alpaca. The Peruvian factories produce for and export to all the major markets around the world, including the USA, Italy, France, China, UK, Australia and more. The entire production chain, starting with the fiber to the yarn through manufacturing is fully integrated, another benefit of Peru. Its factories are technologically advanced with respect to machines used and development processes, while still incorporating its long history with artisans, always maintaining social, environmental and sustainable practices.
MYTH: I’m allergic to Alpaca
FACT: Alpaca is naturally hypoallergenic and contains no oil or lanolin…the same can’t be said for wool. Plus, with the lack of lanolin, Alpaca fleece requires little washing, saving water and making it easier on the environment. Alpaca fibers are fine while at the sam time quite durable and also water-resistant, have wicking properties, nonflammable.
MYTH: Peruvian manufacturing isn’t socially responsible
FACT: Peru is a global leader in setting the standards of quality of life for its workers. Labor standards are high, with clean, safe work environments being the norm. Many Peruvian factories that manufacture Alpaca are World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) certified.
MYTH: Alpaca is too limiting in design options
FACT: Alpaca is extremely adaptable and can be made into nearly anything, from a variety of clothing and accessories, even athletic socks, as well as items for the home, like throws, rugs and so much more. Alpaca fibers naturally come in a range of 22 colors from black through variations of grays and browns to white, a characteristic unique to the Alpaca. It can also be easily be dyed any color, making its color options virtually limitless.
MYTH: Alpacas are not environmentally friendly
FACT: Alpacas have a low footprint, especially in comparison to goats ( which produce cashmere) and sheep (which produce wool). Alpacas pad gently on the land and are not at all harsh on their surroundings. They delicately nibble the tops of grasses and plants, leaving the roots safe to regenerate. In the past 10 years, the Alpaca population has been steady, showing no degradation in supply that could harm the land they inhabit.
MYTH: Alpaca is scratchy and itchy
FACT: Peruvian Alpaca is lightweight, breathable and soft. A newborn baby can be wrapped in Alpaca with no adverse reaction. There are several qualities of Alpaca, such as Royal Alpaca, Baby Alpaca, Superfine. The unique flat surface of the Alpaca fiber eliminates the ‘itch’ factor.
MYTH: Alpacas are harmed for their fleece
FACT: Alpacas hold a revered place in Peruvian culture dating back to Incan times and through today. They are well respected, well treated and NEVER harmed for their fleece The shearing process is 100% ethical and strictly adheres to ethically sound practices. Alpacas are docile and friendly animals, further eliminating the need for harsh treatment.
MYTH: Alpaca is too expensive
FACT: 100% Alpaca offers a variety of price points, being a less expensive option to premium cashmere and giving a nicer hand-feel than wool. Then, when blended with other fibers, either natural or synthetic, Alpaca provides an even greater range of pricing. Adding even a small percentage of Alpaca to a yarn can turn an average yarn into a luxe one with little price increase. Plus, Peruvian Alpaca is DUTY-FREE to the USA, Canada, Europe and other countries.