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.
Artifex is a Romanian apparel manufacturer known for qualitative garments and its use of latest equipment. The fully renovated factory was founded in 2005 after a Swiss couture brand merged with a local Romanian factory. Based in Focsani – on the shores of the Milcov River – Artifex’s home city has a rich textile tradition. Employing about 1,400 professionals, Artifex produces women’s jackets, top skirts, pants and dresses for ARKET, as well as children’s blazers and trousers.