FALL is here and we should pick the best yarn to protect us! ALPACA is the one.
Posted on September 28 2016
Here is part of an article that will provide you more light comparing 2 high-end yarns with its benefits and particularities. Cashmere vs ALPACA. Good reading!
Choosing a Luxury Yarn: Alpaca vs. Cashmere By Julia Ingall
"When the mercury drops, winter’s freeze factor thrusts millions around the world into a search for the warmest, coziest garments money can buy. Two of the most coveted fibers – cashmere and alpaca – have woven their way into the very fabric of high-end fashion. But which yarn wins out, both in value and for insulation?
In This Corner: Cashmere
A historical favorite for shawls and sweaters, strong-but-soft-and-light-beyond-dreams cashmere became all the rage in the1980s, taken up by designers for everything from jackets to sweatpants. For many years, it was deemed the most luxurious wool (though technically it's hair) of them all. Why? For its über-strict and painstaking manufacturing process. In order to be labeled "cashmere," the fabric must contain fibers from the downy undercoat of the fleece of a particular breed of goat (traditionally from India's Kashmir region) and pass specific measurement requirements. The finest cashmere consists of only the whitest, longest, thinnest hair from the goat’s underfleece; the hairs must be more than 36mm long to qualify as premium.
Cashmere's status began to change in the 1990s when China began to produce it in mass volumes, essentially ‘devaluing’ the fiber from luxury to mainstream. Cashmere, very swiftly, went from wool royalty (with a hefty price tag to match) to being available pretty much everywhere, at a moderate price. Although the premium variety from India still comes at a high cost, these days you can pick up a “cashmere" sweater for as little as $80. Generally speaking, the lesser price reflects a lower-quality fiber – typically shorter, coarser hair from a goat's undercoat (only 28-30mm long), or fabric blended with yak or rabbit hair. To make things worse, these garments are knitted loosely, so the customer not only gets substandard material, there’s less of it.
In That Corner: Alpaca
Cashmere became so mass-produced that couturiers began searching for a rarer, more exclusive alternative (not unlike the way mink got surpassed as fashion's darling by other animal pelts. This opened the gates to a new hoofed critter, the alpaca (a camelid cousin of the camel and the llama). Actually, Peruvians had been wearing knits made of alpaca fiber for centuries, but now, the silky-soft secret spread to the fashion world, and high-end designers began flocking to use the fleece of the shaggy South American native.
Once called the poor man’s cashmere, alpaca has made it to the head of the pack in the designer-garment universe; many now believe its yarn is more luxurious, slightly softer, lighter and warmer thanks to its longer fibers. It also pills less than cashmere and is hypoallergenic, not to mention rarer: There are an estimated 4 million alpacas – and by contrast, around 450 million cashmere goats – worldwide.
Alpaca weaving is a traditional craft, done using sustainable methods, which puts it under the desirable "Fair Trade" banner. This, combined with the ability to create high-end designs using a lesser-known fiber, are among the reasons alpaca wool has gained such a prominent luxury fashion following. Design houses that have warmed to alpaca include Giorgio Armani, Max Mara and Nanette Lepore. Even Loro Piana, famed purveyor of fine cashmere and vicuña, has embraced the camel’s long-lashed relative."