Although alpaca fibre had been used by Peruvians for centuries it was not well know here, but because of the glut of cheaper cashmere it has now becoming the new fibre of choice for many mainstream fashion designers. This is a great leap for a fibre that was once called 'the poor man's cashmere'.
You'll find cashmere at every price level by just about every brand, you're unlikely to find alpaca that easily although it can be just as soft, pills less and can last longer. It is also much softer than 'cheap' cashmere
4. When you buy an alpaca yarn garment you're buying into something that is not yet mainstream but about to be, as alpaca wool is now being taken up by designers such as Armani, Max Mara and Loro Piana.
5. Alpacas live in the wild, mainly in the Andes of Peru, while cashmere goats are bred on a massive scale in countries such as Mongolia and China.
6. Second only to silk for strength, alpaca is comparable to the luxurious softness of cashmere yet more durable and far more hard wearing than both. It has a unique feel to it and seems softer to actually wear than to touch. A lot of the strength comes from the fact that the staple (length of the fibres) are longer in alpaca than sheep and goats.
Both cashmere and alpaca are luxurious fibres, beautifully soft and warm and hypoallergenic (lanolin free). Garments made from cashmere can have wildly different prices and be of very different quality because of the disparity in production. Alpaca garments are normally of very high quality - so far there is no 'cheap' alpaca.
The only problem with alpaca going forward is that because of the rarity of the alpacas themselves, and the fact that alpaca wool is starting to be used by top level couturiers, this may start sending the prices up.
We source our alpaca fibre from Peru, and the yarn is knitted and dyed in the UK.
Our cashmere scarves and wraps at Perilla are made of the finest grade of 100% Himalayan cashmere available, woven on hand looms by artisans in Nepal to the highest possible standards. The exquisite diamond weave can be clearly seen. If you feel a cheaper version you'll find it feels totally different.