We’ve been converted. After years of spending a small fortune on cashmere sweaters and pashminas, not to mention being seduced by ‘cut-price cashmere’ (a false economy if ever there was one), we’ve discovered a lustrous and silky natural fibre from...the alpaca. For those of you unfamiliar with these enchanting creatures, alpacas are in fact a domesticated species of South American camelid (yes we had to look this one up), although you would be forgiven for mistaking them for small llamas.
Renowned for its distinctive lustre and silky fineness, alpaca fleece has long been used for both knitting and weaving. Indigenous cultures have used heavy weight alpaca fleece for thousands of years to produce warm clothing. Today designers are gradually becoming more au fait with the versatility of alpaca, the British institution Pringle have used it in their knitwear collections, while at Armani they have woven the longer and silkier ‘Suri’ fibres into suits.
Although similar to sheep’s wool alpaca fibre is far more luxurious, not to mention softer, warmer, lighter in weight, not prickly, free from lanolin making it hypoallergenic… oh and did we mention they are also incredibly cute?!
We love the gorgeous pieces from Fowberry Alpacas, a small herd based in North Yorkshire. The alpacas are born and raised in the Howardian Hills, sheared annually and the fleece woven in West Yorkshire at a small artisan weaver, perfect for those of you trying to reduce your clothing carbon footprint. The fleece is organically processed to create a range of hand-knitted, hand-woven and crocheted garments, which include hats, scarves, wraps, cardigans, jumpers and ponchos. No dyes or chemicals are used in production; instead they rely on the natural colours of the herd. The alpaca is actually one of the most colour diverse fibre-producing animals in the world with as many as 22 different shades.
Here at the Amazing PR office we’ve fallen in love with their scarves especially the ‘Extra Cosy Large Scarf’ and the Missoni-esque ‘Biba’ scarves, (currently on sale so we’ll race you!).
Look out for their new range of ‘Baby Alpaca Woven Scarves’, made from only the finest and softest fleece, they are guaranteed to keep you toasty on even the coldest of days and join us in coming over all broody at the sight of these adorable hand-knitted booties.
So in preparation for the next cold-snap we are ditching the cashmere - so over-done - and cocooning ourselves in alpaca, equally luxurious, naturally warm and soft, not to mention more affordable and available right on our doorstep. Plus, let’s face it, those alpacas are definitely cuter than their cashmere goat rivals!