Is Alpaca the New Luxury Textile?

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Alpaca is considerably the new cashmere. The luxury wool is especially a trending commodity among fashion designers because it is inexpensive to produce and it is environmentally friendly. Many consumers are positively responding to this new fiber as the Peruvian Trade Commission and Company Agenda seek to create global awareness of the Peruvian textile industry. Due to the enormous potential alpaca has to be a leading textile, the Peruvian Trade Commission and Company Agenda sent five designers to Peru in December 2013 to observe the entire alpaca production process under the agreement of featuring alpaca-based garments with their collections at New York Fashion Week in February 2014. Among the designers were Antonio Azzuolo, Charles Harbison, Caitlin Wiman of Rachel Comey, and Timo Weiland and Donna Kang, head designers for Timo Weiland. They were able to culturally submerge themselves into Peruvian customs and witness the economic impact of alpaca textile production.

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The textile and garment industry in Peru is $175 million in exported alpaca fibers, which accounts for its annual margin contributing to the $2.1 billion industry. The industry helps the Peruvian economy of which many people suffer from poverty and heavily rely on the herding of alpaca for their livelihood. While the manufacturing of the fiber contributes substantially to the Peruvian economy, the production is less expensive than sheep’s wool and presents more benefits than cashmere. For example, alpaca is warmer and more durable than cashmere. It is water, wrinkle, and stretch resistant, hypo-allergenic, shinier, and more easily acquired than cashmere. Overall, alpaca is more efficient and economical in production and purchase than many of its wool counterparts.

Written By: Chrystl Glasgow

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