The Rising Trend of Alpaca Clothing

By Terry Philips

With origins as a fabric staple in South American cultures like parts of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Chile alpaca fibre is beginning to set the tone for fashion trends globally. In recent months, this style of clothing has been shown in the London and New York runways.

The wool is taken from the alpaca, a close animal relative of the llama, and used to make clothing that protects against the chill of Andean mountain climates. But, alpaca wool has been embraced by Western designers which has lead to a fusion of fashion beyond the function.

Often this can be compared to sheep's wool prior to wearing alpaca fibre. Fashion connoisseurs pick alpaca due to the vast array of differences between the two fabrics. With hollow and durable fibres, you get a lighter product that is ideal to wear year-round. Alpaca wool is also made of softer, smoother strands, giving it a silk-like texture that feels great on the skin.

Lending to its embrace by the fashion and retail industries, alpaca can be purchased in more than a dozen naturally occurring colours. Fusion fashion and knitting is the traditional way to transform the soft strands but this has been spawned into weaving and lace in different alpaca fabrics. New York Fashion Week and British Alpaca Fashion Launch are just two events that display alpaca fashion as the fusion centerpiece style and that can be seen even further away in Bahrain and Sri Lanka.

Similarly, there are reasons to be cheerful because there are sustainable practices which can lead to environmentally friendly fabric production. In contract to sheep wool, alpaca fur doesn't have any allergens, and this means that there are no chemicals in the fabric conversion. In addition, many alpaca farmers engage in only sustainable practices that make producing alpaca wool environmentally friendly.

The upside is that it isn't too difficult to transform alpaca fabrics into something that fits perfectly into your wardrobe. Alpaca is not only being used on high fashion runways but also in everyday clothing. Alpaca wool is making its way into business attire market, for example, with several designers fashioning suits and dresses from it. It is likely that alpaca clothing will be seen more and more often in everyday day clothing as it grows in popularity, and this means hats, fleeces, gloves and scarves which can be incorporated within your fashion trends in the wardrobe.

Terry Philips
Article by Terry Philips
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