Alpaca fiber is emerging as a highly sought-after and eco-friendly material, with its roots in Peru, the largest exporter and producer of alpaca wool. Dating back to the Inca era, where it was reserved for royalty, alpaca's exceptional qualities have stood the test of time. In a comparison with its former rival, cashmere, alpaca has gained prominence due to concerns about mass production and declining quality in the cashmere industry. Alpacas, native to the Andes mountains, contribute to a sustainable and ethical industry where they are gently sheared once a year, benefiting both the animals and the local economy.
With Peru home to the largest alpaca population, the country's breeders and artisans play a pivotal role in preserving the tradition of alpaca farming. Alpaca is hailed as the greenest animal on the planet, producing a soft, warm fiber without causing harm to the environment. Alpacas' light footprint, adaptability to various climates, efficiency in fiber production, hypoallergenic qualities, and natural colors make them a sustainable choice in the fashion industry. By choosing alpaca products, consumers contribute to a tradition and livelihood that celebrates the unique qualities of this remarkable fiber, aligning with the growing trend towards a more sustainable retail culture.
What Makes Alpaca Wool so Sustainable
Alpaca wool stands out as a biodegradable and renewable material, offering unparalleled sustainability. Garments crafted from this natural fiber boast breathability and inherent odor resistance, contributing to a low-impact usage phase. Notably, recycled alpaca wool emerges as the epitome of sustainability within this category. By repurposing discarded materials to create recycled wool fabrics, the industry alleviates the demand on land, water, and other resources required for breeding additional wool-producing animals. This emphasis on recycling not only enhances environmental conservation but also aligns with a conscientious approach to textile production.
The Most Sustainable Apparel Brands Using Alpaca Fabric
Indigenous was founded in California in 1993 by Scott Leonard and Matt Reynolds with a vision of creating a groundbreaking socioeconomic apparel model. Today, they are renowned for their sustainable and ethical fashion, offering a wide range of organic clothing options.
Indigenous champions sustainability through exclusive use of natural and organic fabrics, including alpaca wool sourced from free-range, family-owned herds, USDA-certified organic cotton, and TENCEL™.
Paka, an outdoor clothing brand, was established in Peru by Kris Cody through a Kickstarter campaign in 2017, aiming to provide versatile, natural clothing for outdoor enthusiasts. Today, as a B Corporation, Paka specializes in activewear crafted with traceable alpaca wool from the Andes Mountains.
Founded in New York in 1984 by designer Eileen Fisher, has evolved into a sustainable fashion leader. Emphasizing simplicity and comfort, the brand is renowned for eco-conscious practices and ethical production. They offer stylish and environmentally friendly clothing, adhering to the Responsible Wool Standard and the Responsible Down Standard for humane treatment of animals.
The Knotty Ones
The Knotty Ones, established in 2014 by three Lithuanian friends, operates between New York and Vilnius. With a mission to provide stable jobs and fair wages to women in marginalized areas of Lithuania, they create traditional Baltic knitwear sustainably in small batches.
Founded in Madrid in 2015 by Julie Charvet Robinne, L'Envers challenges the norms of the fashion industry by offering made-to-order timeless knitwear. Recognized as an ethical brand, L’Envers produces high-quality products available in select shops across Europe and the US, as well as globally through their online store.