Alpacas are gentle, camel-like animals native to the high Andes mountains of South America. For thousands of years, their soft and glossy coats have been sheared and then spun into a luxurious yarn. Its beauty and durability made it the cloth of the ancient Incan royalty. The yarns are commonly airy and light, with surprising strength and elasticity. Still a luxury fibre, alpaca is used for fancy-knit jumpers and soft knitted accessories.
Like sheep’s wool, alpaca is naturally warm and water-repellent but much softer and suited to sensitive skin due to its smoother surface and lack of lanolin. Because the animals are only sheared every other year, their fine fibres grow exceptionally long – up to 30 centimetres. Hollow shafts in the centre of the fibres absorb and trap body heat, giving the material unique insulation properties. The fleece come in over 300 shades and is mostly used in its natural colours.
Supplier Fujian Wanjiamei textile clothing
Based in the city of Quanzhou – which lies on the coast between Guangzhou and Shanghai – the Fujian factory designs and manufactures high-quality heavy knits. The company was founded in 2006, and its 1,500 employees are skilled in yarn winding, knitting panels, linking and special workmanship techniques – like advanced embroidery and traditional intarsia knitting by hand. With a number of quality and environmental certifications, Fujian reduces their waste and emissions by employing a better utilisation rate of raw materials. They are crafting heavy-knit pieces for ARKET, using all of their advanced skills – including embroidery and hand knitting.