Alpaca are native to the high Andes Mountains of South America. Domesticated for centuries by the Inca of Peru, their precious fleece was worn only by royalty.
Alpaca comes in a wide range of natural colors and is easily dyed. It is soft like cashmere and stronger than wool. This unique hollow core fiber is extremely lightweight yet retains the ability to warm it's wearer-without being too hot- against even the harshest winter chills. Alpaca fiber is incredibly soft to touch. Alpaca also has the wonderful quality of wicking away moisture to keep the wearer dry.
Alpacas have been domesticated for over 5,000 years. They are fiber-producing animals raised primarily for their luxurious fiber. Their fleece is harvested annually by shearing them in a way that is similar to sheep shearing. Once the animal is sheared the fleece is divided into six grades. Grades, such as Royal Baby, Baby and Superfine are easily worn against even the most sensitive skin. The grading is not associated with the age of animal but with the fiber density and soft hand of the fleece.
Many people ask us about the difference between alpaca and sheep's wool. Sheep's wool has a different physical make-up than that of alpaca fiber. The outside of each strand of wool has tiny, microscopic scales along the length of the strand. When garments made with wool are worn next to the skin, these scales catch the surface of the skin and cause some wool to feel prickly or itchy. Strands of alpaca fiber are smooth and therefore feel less itchy next to the skin. Alpaca is lanolin free (lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens that create the allergies people have to wool), which allows for the hypoallergenic nature of the fiber. Each individual strand of alpaca fiber is hollow. This gives alpaca a tremendous thermal capacity that allows for a breathable fiber with an insulating nature. Alpaca insulates from cool and warm temperatures. Many people who are sensitive to wool find they can wear alpaca without the same sensitivity.
People are also curious about whether animals die to produce alpaca goods. The answer is generally-no. Alpacas are sheared, meaning their fiber is cut from a living animal to produce raw fiber and yarn that is then used to produce alpaca goods. However, alpacas do die and when they do, their valuable hides are used to produce goods. To answer the question underneath the question, we don’t kill animals to produce goods. But when alpacas die, alpaca product creators take advantage of the products available from a deceased animal.
At Shabby Alpaca we pride ourselves in bringing you modern and edgy clothing that reflects our name. We carry two grades of wearable alpaca products along with many fun alpaca-themed goods. Our first grade is a fantastic blend of alpaca, wool and synthetic fiber. We call this our blend. Using blended materials allows us to bring to you fun alpaca products at a very reasonable price. Our second grade is our high grade alpaca- called luxury. These are our higher priced items that our customers love! Our softest sweaters, scarves and throws are created with baby alpaca and superfine alpaca. Products on our website are indicted by luxury and blend to differentiate between the two grades. One of our luxury products may still be a blend of fibers, and that will always be indicated, too.
Many of our products are hand crafted and come directly from Peru. Peru has a rich textile tradition that provides an important source of additional income for the talented craftsmen and craftswomen who create our goods. The pride of our craftspeople shows in the quality of the product they produce for us.
If for any reason you are not satisfied with your Shabby Alpaca product, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee because we're sure that the product we are curating will please you.