Alpaca: Peru's Fabulous Fiber


As a brand founded on an enchantment with horses and the lifestyle surrounding them, there is another animal that figures prominently in Stick & Ball's inspiration and collection: the alpaca. Since our inception in 2011, all of our luxury knit and woven products - ponchos, throws, and pillows - are made with 100% pure baby alpaca, a natural fiber gaining prominence in the fashion industry for its incredible attributes and sustainability.

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Baby alpaca refers to the soft fleece carefully shorn from the underside of the animal's neck (not the age of the alpaca) and the fineness of the fiber - in technical terms, a diameter of 21 - 23 microns. In Peru, home to an estimated 3 million alpacas, it is said that the Incas placed a higher value on its fiber than on silver or gold. For many of the same reasons it was honored by the indigenous people of the Andes, it is a prized element of our collection too.

The exceptional fineness of fibers designated as baby alpaca, hand-sorted after the annual shearing of the fleece, offer a softness comparable to cashmere. Alpaca fiber, though, unlike sheep's wool or cashmere from goats, has hollow air pockets which provides a superior, insulating warmth, breathability, and an overall light weight to the finished textile. This is what makes our woven ponchos comfortably wearable in and out of the saddle and in a variety of climates!

The length of baby alpaca fibers give finished garments a highly durable quality and resistance to pilling. Because the fleece is naturally free of lanolin, it is also hypo-allergenic (read: not itchy). There are more than 20 rich, naturally occurring colors of alpaca fleece, requiring the use of less dye - good for both our customers' skin and the environment.

In term of the sustainability of alpaca herding and ranching, alpacas have a light environmental footprint (literally) with their soft padded feet, low water consumption, and a delicate grazing style that leaves root systems intact.

The alpaca, in many ways, represents both the past and future of Peru, and my travels there allow Stick & Ball to source this ancient fiber and produce our products in an ethically and environmentally conscious way. If you are new to experiencing the luxury of baby alpaca, I recommend our Solid Throws or the Blanket Striped Poncho as a beautiful, fine introduction.

Cheers,

Elizabeth

Shop all the baby alpaca items in our collection.  

 

 


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