Alpaca fiber, both from Peru and Australia, is in high demand in the luxury apparel market across the world. This is mainly due to its natural range of colors and other environment-friendly qualities. The Peruvian Society of Registered Alpaca (SPAR) recently exported 7.1 ton of high quality alpaca fiber worth $1,25,000 to Italian fabric manufacturing company Fratelli Piacanza, known for manufacturing high-quality garments.
Australian alpaca fiber is extremely soft as compared to other fibers and therefore is suited for luxury next to skin wear garments. The vibrant range of natural colors of alpaca fibers provides it a clear product differentiation from other fibers as there is no need for use of harsh chemicals during the dyeing process. The fact that alpacas are often reared in welfare friendly conditions also carries a distinct advantage.
An alpaca is a smaller version of the animal llama. Alpacas graze at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 ft on the Peruvian Andes. Their thick, sumptuous coats grow naturally in over 40 shades-from ivory to black, with all the greys and browns in between. Lighter shades of the fleece also take dyes beautifully. Alpacas are tended to by Andean herdsmen, who shear them every other year at the onset of the rainy season. The yield is about eight pounds of fleece per animal. Most of the fleece sheared from the first clip is classified as baby alpaca.