Differences between Alpaca Fibers and Other Natural Fibers
Have you ever heard about alpaca fiber clothing? One of the most sustainable and eco-friendly fibers out there, alpaca fibers have become vastly popular for their soft texture and environmentally friendly qualities. They are completely natural fibers taken from the sheared wool of two alpaca breeds (the Suri and Huacaya).
The most common debate when it comes to this fiber is related to the alpaca vs cashmere comparison. People often try to see which of the two is better as they have qualities that are very similar. However, only one champion has managed to remain consistent in quality and uniqueness from the very beginning: the alpaca fiber.
What Makes Alpaca Fibers Different from Natural Fibers?
Alpaca fibers are often compared with other natural fibers, like cashmere and sheep’s wool. These fibers are quite similar to one another in texture and often in quality as well. However, some notable differences should be considered when conflicted between alpaca fibers and other natural fibers. Some of the characteristics that set alpaca fibers apart from others are listed as follows:
Fibers are measured using microns. Alpaca fibers measure between 18 to 23 microns, while cashmere fibers measure an average of 19 microns. Alpaca fibers are often softer and more refined than other natural fibers. Even a particular type of alpaca fiber called royal alpaca fiber is softer than the regular ones taken from the rest of the alpaca’s body. The soft texture is quite distinguishable, and alpaca clothing lovers can probably recognize the texture just by touching it!
Another difference that has always been quite apparent is how eco-friendly alpaca fibers are. The alpaca fibers are obtained in a manner that allows for them to renew their coats before the next shearing. On the other hand, it is widely known that the Hircus goats used to produce cashmere have caused great ruin to China’s grasslands. Also, because alpaca clothing can last a long time without losing its shape, there is less demand for it as people often make use of luxury clothing for a longer time.
Humane Treatment of the Alpaca
Alpacas are treated very humanely when they are shorn for their wool. They are allowed to roam in their habitats freely and are herded using humane practices. When it is time to clip them, the most painless methods are used to do so. Excessive wool is not trimmed off and is only clipped to meet the demands of the ever-growing alpaca fiber market.
One of the unique qualities of alpaca fibers is that they are very durable. They are not susceptible to piling (which often ruins fabric in the long run). Most other natural fibers are not as durable as alpaca fibers, and they do not last as long in the same shape. In contrast, alpaca fibers clothing is often passed down from generation to generation because of its durability and softness.
In comparison to other natural fibers, alpaca fibers are not as popular or in demand. Cashmere clothing has gained mainstream popularity in the last few decades, so it is easier to find as it is sold worldwide. However, alpaca fiber clothing is not as convenient to find, and it is not produced as much as cashmere. Moreover, there are only an estimated 5 million alpacas used to produce alpaca wool, while approximately 700 million Hircus goats are used to produce cashmere around the world.
When worn, alpaca fiber clothing has the ability to maintain insulation. It is the best option for anyone living in colder regions. In comparison, other natural fibers, like sheep’s wool or cashmere, can keep one warm but are not as comfortable as that of alpaca fibers clothing.
Finally, the quality of alpaca fiber is unmatched by any other. Nowadays, cashmere has not maintained the same quality it once had in the 1990s, when it initially gained mainstream popularity. The increasing popularity of the material is what really led to its eventual devaluing and downfall in the textile industry. Cashmere has now become a shadow of what it once was, with most breeders cross-breeding their goats as a means to produce more wool at the cost of its quality.
Anyone looking to buy excellent quality alpaca products, like a Peruvian throw blanket, can find what they are in search of online. Many people want to buy an alpaca blanket or another alpaca fiber item because of how warm and soft it is. However, alpaca fibers are also a unique item that comes from a gentle creature. The sustainable origin coupled with the fiber’s ability to last a long time without damage or ruin makes alpaca fibers an ideal choice for anyone looking for a luxury item.