Why is alpaca knitwear more sustainable than cashmere?
Why should you choose Alpaca sweater over other types of wool such as a cashmere sweater? And what makes it sustainable against other materials? In this post we’ll explain you why alpaca is better than cashmere and other wools.
It only takes a quick read at Vogue’s latest article on Alpaca sweaters to understand that the American consumer is starting to change. Sure it a slow start, but it’s a start after all. People are more interested in knowing where their clothes come from, who made them and how. The toll the world is taking with climate change and how workers in low conditions are using their own labor or social media to communicate big issues in the industry only makes us go forward in the sustainable route since we can’t just ignore things anymore. Believing the brands we chose are alright just because their well-known or “say so” is not acceptable. People now want proof.
Big luxury companies are starting to buy entire farms to get full control of their supply chain in an effort to own their main materials but also to ensure the educated costumer on sustainability that they mean what they advertise.
Case in point: how nowadays luxury brands are starting to choose Alpaca over Cashmere wool. The reason? Cashmere’s high demand from consumers of all incomes. Owning a cashmere sweater is not an uncommon thing anymore by no means and its demand for a lower price tag has decreased the fiber’s quality. It is also known that overgrazing in lands filled with herds of goats are having a negative impact on the lands and could be a menace for the rest of the ecosystem the cashmere goats live in.
Alpaca wool is not only softer than cashmere (it comes in many varieties depending on the thickness of each fiber and how it’s been processed, we can discuss that in another post) it has a hypoallergenic quality, which means people with sensitive skin can wear alpaca without a problem. It also provides enough warmth to the body but doesn’t weigh as much as other wools, making it fluffier and more comfortable to wear and layer.
Its sustainable quality comes from its rarity. Alpaca wool is rare to find (being only available in very few countries around the world) and its processing is often regulated to ensure the safety of the alpacas, the land they live in and the farmers who look after them. More so, alpacas are sheared only once a year giving them plenty of time to grow back their hair in time for the winter season. Given the fact that alpaca’s hair loses quality after each shearing process, they are only sheared during a specific amount of time which tends to be less than a third of an alpaca’s complete lifetime.
Ankura as a Peruvian fashion brand works with Peruvian Alpaca that is sourced from within the country’s top line knit providers who ensure our alpaca wool is responsibly sourced and processed.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to share them with us in the comments. And read our next post if you’d like to know “Why should you wear Organic Cotton?”