As we hear about unethical practices in the wool industry and the huge environmental toll associated with cashmere, you might think those days of getting cosy in a luxuriously soft and fluffy jumper were gone. And then in walks the alpaca to steal our hearts and our wardrobe space!
Alpacas were domesticated in South America around 7,000 years ago and the majority of the world's alpaca population still lives in southern Peru. Highly prized by the Quechua people, the finer grades of alpaca fibre (known as baby alpaca) were reserved for Inca royalty.
Still not convinced? Here are ten reasons why alpaca could become your new winter wardrobe staple.
They tread lightly on the planet: Alpacas have padded feet (aww), not hooves, so they don't damage the land they live on.
Alpaca fibre is softer than cashmere (take that, goats!).
They're nature's lawnmowers: Alpacas don't have upper teeth so they cut grass instead of pulling it up by its roots.
Unlike sheep's wool, alpaca fibre doesn't contain lanolin. This means it's naturally hypo-allergenic and doesn't require vast amounts of water and harsh detergents to remove irritants during the manufacturing process.
Alpaca fibre is less likely to pill compared to cashmere and sheep's wool.
Alpaca fibre is around 7 times warmer than sheep's wool thanks to its microscopic air pockets.
Alpacas produce up to 28 natural colours, which greatly reduces the need for dyes.
Alpaca fibre doesn't shrink or wrinkle.
Alpacas are flame resistant (at least their fibre is) - which technically makes them a superhero.
Alpacas consume less water and produce much more fibre compared to goats - alpaca for the win!
Images (clockwise L-R): Zady, KITX, Zady, renegades of chic