Differences between the alpaca and vicugna fibers

Choosing  the right clothing or right fiber for blankets and throws can be difficult. Many people love blankets and throws made with natural fibers, but they just don´t know which material is best. To stablish and choose the best fiber is hard and currently consumers have to deal with different properties and benefits among them. Some of them decide according to the softness, others prefer the warmth.

Each type of fiber is different. In the last years alpaca  has become trendy  and gained popularity, and for a good reason. The increasing contamination caused by the textile industry specially  related with fast fashion, has transformed the alpaca fiber in the most sustainable, ecological and organic option.

About the vicugna

Price of this fiber is extremely higher compared with others, such as cotton,  llama and polyester. This higher price is related in the first place with its fineness. Vicugna belongs to the South American camelids family and is related with alpaca: It grows in the Andes at altitudes going from 3200 to 5000 meters high. Vicugna fiber is one of the rarest natural fibers in the world and is now protected by the Peruvian government after decades of having been almost in extinction.

One hair of vicugna has 12 microns, so it is 7 times finer than cashmere. When sheared it produces  500 grs of fiber per year  and it is sheared every 3 years. The fiber is so delicate that it can hardly be dyed with the chemicals currently used in the textile industry. This is why it is mostly used in its natural light brown color. And it is  considered a luxury fiber, rare because of the small number of existing animals, very fine and very expensive.

Vicugnas are wild, which means they are not domesticated. So once sheared they return to  their habitat. To shear them, local population organize the Chaccu, a ritual consisting in grouping all animals together by shouting and circling them towards the corrales where they will be sheared.

The differences

A garment made in  vicugna is very soft and light. It is as warm and isolating as alpaca, so they share these properties. The main difference if the extreme fineness and its scarcity because there are less vicugnas than alpacas in Peru. There is an increasing demand for vicugna  in the market and it would be great if Peru could increase the number of animals but this is difficult because of their wild nature.

About Allpa

Our textiles are mainly manufactured with baby alpaca and superfine alpaca, according to our customer´s requirements. The thicker and coarser fleece can only be used in rugs.  We source all our alpaca yarns in the main local mills located in Arequipa, which provide us with the certifications required by the market. These mills also produce under strict standards and offer blends of alpaca with merino wool, cotton, silk, linen.

With these yarns we manufacture home textiles: blankets, duvets, throws, pillows, curtains and upholstery.

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