Alpacas are camelids native to the Andes. They live at an altitude of 2500 to 4500 meters above sea level in the harsh high plains, enduring extreme climatic conditions that can vary from + 30 ° C to - 20 ° C in a single day.
They have been domesticated by the Incas for more than 5,000 years; For this reason, since ancient times, they have been held highly by ancient Peruvians as sacred creatures. The use of the finest fibers of alpaca was of unique use for the Inca royalty, known as "fiber of the gods". Thus, since ancient times, the alpaca has provided Peru with a historical, cultural and economic legacy. Currently, Peru is home to an approximate 4 million alpacas, being an income resource for around 165,000 high Andean families that live from the work of caring for the alpaca, using its fiber and making hand-woven garments.
On the other hand, it is important to understand this resource within the supply chain and process of Alpaca fiber. Today in Peru, despite hosting 83% of the total population of these animals in the world and providing 80% of the world's fiber production, it is not recognized as a place of origin in the world. The reality lies in the overextension within the value chain of an alpaca garment generating cost overruns for agents and transits of the material, yarn and garments that are part of the current process. Giving more room to the export of raw material and yarn generates the loss of providing a final product in the fashion industry that goes from obtaining the material, spinning, development, production and sale of an alpaca garment.
It is at this point that Nina P'itay seeks to bridge the gaps generated by the extension of the production of alpaca garments, concentrating all phases of development locally. Thus, Peru and all the agents involved can feel recognized for their work and proud to be able to add value of our cultural heritage of alpaca fiber to the world.
Alpaca fiber is one of the most precious natural fibers in the world and one of the favorite materials in luxury fashion. This fiber has a number of properties that are quite unique, such as:
Thermal: retains heat, while being breathable; In addition, it has excellent insulating qualities due to having microscopic air pockets inside.
Hypoallergenic: It does not contain lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic and suitable for people who are sensitive to wool. In addition, the absence of oils makes it easy to dye without losing its shine and softness.
Lightness: it is light and adapts to the body's temperature, helping it to combat sudden changes in temperature.
Resistance: it is warm and resistant and does not wear out with use. Like other wool of animal origin, alpaca fiber also repels water, so even when wet it will protect your body, maintaining its temperature. It is also flame retardant, meaning it is almost impossible to burn.
Color Gamut - Comes naturally in a range of 22 colors from black, through variations of grays and browns, to white. Thus, the textures, weights and silhouettes of this fiber are endless.
Additionally, alpacas can be sheared annually, producing approximately 5 to 10 pounds of fiber per alpaca. The blanket (back and sides) and, in some alpacas, the neck, is considered the best fleece (a set of wool that is removed from the animal by shearing it), since it contains very little protective hair. The legs, belly and neck are considered seconds, but they are still used for rugs, socks, etc.
Nina P'itay's fiber quality classification:
Alpaca Royal - 18 microns finer
Super Fine / Baby Alpaca - 20 microns finer
Fine - 25 microns finer
Note: Most human hair is at least 100 microns, which is 5 times thicker than alpaca fiber!