Oatmeal Mist Alpaca Jacket Fox Trim
Cashmere’s high status began to change in the 1990s when the demand for cashmere wool rapidly grew, leading to mass production. As China produced in volume, the fiber’s status eventually devalued, shifting from luxury to mainstream. In effect, prices and quality have lowered over the years. Mass production has led breeders to cross-breed, resulting in goats producing more wool, but the fiber is shorter and not as refined. Some manufacturers will even mix cashmere fiber with synthetic yarns to increase its softness for a lower price. Therefore, not all cashmere is created equal. You really have to be meticulous when it comes to checking for quality. There is an artisanal element in the production of alpaca. Knitting and weaving this extraordinary fiber has been a time-honored craft that has become part of Peru’s cultural heritage. And to further preserve this Peruvian tradition that provides income to thousands of families, companies work directly with local breeders to not only ensure quality but to also provide these artisans with a great opportunity to secure a sustainable future.
Cashmere fiber comes from Hircus goats, whose grazing has been depleting their natural grasslands. In fact, it is well documented that the immense popularity of cashmere has decimated many grasslands in China. Alpacas have soft, padded feet. This means they can explore their natural habitat in the Peruvian Andes Mountains without causing damage. They can go for a stroll without destroying The root systems of the plants they consume. In other words, alpacas are easy on the land and promote a sustainable habitat, while cashmere goats create high environmental stress on the land they graze on. The devastation this creates has led to the desertification of the Inner Mongolian region, resulting in frequent dust storms in China. In addition, alpacas drink less water than Hircus goats but still manage to produce more wool. Specifically, one alpaca can already produce enough wool for four to five sweaters a year while it takes four goats to create a single cashmere sweater. And unlike cashmere that comes in limited natural colors and is typically dyed, alpaca comes in 22 different natural color variations. Since alpaca combines a treasured, traditional craft with the practice of sustainable methods, alpaca production can be placed under the “fair trade” banner.