Because our love of the luxurious Suri and Royal alpaca yarns begins in the vast and majestic Andean mountains of Peru today we want to share some interesting facts about the Alpacas and how their fiber has been a constant, precious component of MATTHILDUR winter collections of luxury clothes since the beginning.
The Suri alpaca are members of the camelid family and are so rare that they only comprise 10% of the world´s Alpaca population. This breed is part of the Peruvian bio-cultural heritage. Initiatives to prevent the extinction of the Suri Alpaca and protect their variety of natural color fibers has improved the livelihoods of the families that traditionally breed these camelids. Nowadays, the communities working with industrial enterprises are able to maintain their lifestyle and artisanal breeding practices as they prove to be more sustainable, while the fiber is fabricated industrially to meet the demands of the market.
Suri has a cool hand to it, is as soft as cashmere and warmer, but not itchy as wool, with the luster of silk and contains a more lustrous fiber with long distinctive dreadlocks which hang to the ground. We use Suri yarn in most of our unique hand knitted sweaters.
On the other hand, the Huacaya alpaca is the most common and its fleece is similar to the merino breed of sheep, with soft, fluffy teddy bear appearance that stands away from the body like a thick carpet and has a zigzag nature of the individual fibers, defined as crimp. The fiber derived from the Huacaya alpaca, which is also produced industrially, is divided into different qualities by expert hands.
The quality we use which is named Royal Alpaca, is in fact the premium variety derived from Baby Alpaca and it represents only 2% of the total alpaca yarn production. By definition “Baby” refers to the grading of the fiber, not the age of the animal, and it is obtained from the softest part of the adult Alpaca, usually the chest.
MATTHILDUR´s womenswear collections rely on locally sourced prime materiales to producing luxury sweaters with care, premium quality yarns and conscientious labor practices, while providing local communities and artisans with a great deal of pride in their production of alpaca, this most special fiber of Peru.
FACTS ABOUT ALPACAS´ SUSTAINABLE HABITS
They nip the tops of the grasses, resulting in less disturbances of the vegetation, allowing it to grow back.
In contrast to goats and sheep, which have sharp hooves damaging pasture and soil, alpacas have two toes with toenails on top and a soft pad on the bottom of each foot that minimizes their effect on pasture-land.
The natural habitat of alpacas is about 3,800 m above sea level. At this altitude the water supply is natural and the land generally not suitable for agriculture.
The efficiency of alpacas is especially notable considering that they require much less food intake than most other fiber producing livestock.