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15-12-2005
  1
windowshopping
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Alpaca clothing
Hi, I am new to this forum. I did a search for fashion talk and found you guys. Anyway, I came here because I thought someone would know the answer to my question.

I got a nice postcard in the mail for an alpaca online clothing store called Accoyo! (I posted the coupon code for the discount it showed in another thread). I decided to check out the site (www.accoyoapparel.com), and loved everything, however, it all costs more than I would want to spend on a sweater or jacket. I guess its really warm and really soft, but does anyone know why alpaca clothing is so expensive?

Thanks!! :p

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17-12-2005
  2
etre soi-meme
 
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because alpaca is premium quality wool, woven in a special 'old fashioned way' thats why..
the way wool is going soon all real wool qualities will be too expensive to buy..

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17-12-2005
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the only alpaca sweater i've ever worn was extremely itchy. scarred for life.

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17-12-2005
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^ Brian, rough alpaca can be just as scratchy and itchy as rough wool... There are obviously different qualities.

I love alpaca, it's light and warm. Also very soft and silky if it's higher quality. I wouldn't say it's equal to cashmere like the site says, but it's somewhere between regular wool and cashmere.

The simple answer as to why good alpaca is on the expensive side is that the supply is limited.

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18-12-2005
  5
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wow, that is interesting. I wonder why the quality differs between alpacas. I was reading something about microfibers...

Anyway, I just bought a sweater made of 100% baby alpaca (which I guess isn't from a baby, its the kind of fleece-more soft) from them yesterday, so I will let you know if it's itchy. It will be my first alpaca sweater experience! Thanks for writing back!!

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18-12-2005
  6
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^ Did you buy it from the site you mentioned? I'm interested to know if they are any good...

Btw, there are some fairly common misconceptions (or misinformation) regarding alpaca. Sometimes it's claimed to be fantastically exclusive, and that the Inca himself was the only person allowed to wear it in the old Inca culture in Peru... That's just wrong. The wool from the vicuna (a member of the same family as the alpaca) which is much finer and rarer, is the the material that was reserved for the Inca. He only wore his clothes once, then they were burnt.

You can find vicuna wool on the market today, but it's incredibly expensive.

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19-12-2005
  7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmb597
wow, that is interesting. I wonder why the quality differs between alpacas. I was reading something about microfibers...

Anyway, I just bought a sweater made of 100% baby alpaca (which I guess isn't from a baby, its the kind of fleece-more soft) from them yesterday, so I will let you know if it's itchy. It will be my first alpaca sweater experience! Thanks for writing back!!
there is something called royal baby alpaca too...
the difference between baby alpaca and royal baby alpaca is that royal baby alpaca is taken from the FIRST shearing of a baby alpaca...strictly from the chest area. royal baby alpaca is about 5% of baby alpaca production. its 19 micron fibers versus 21 micron fibers of regular baby alpaca



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19-12-2005
  8
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Tott- yes, I bought it from the site...I should be receiving it soon...I will let you know!

LolitaLuxe- So, is Royal baby more like cashmere then?

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21-12-2005
  9
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Alpaca is a kind of llama, right? I can't imagine that being comfortable. It sounds rather itchy, like brian said already...

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21-12-2005
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It's like regular wool, there is rough and scratchy alpaca as well as soft and silky.

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04-01-2006
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I almost forgot to write about my sweater. I got it and its awesome...really soft and I don't itch at all. I love the way it looks too - I have gotten a lot of compliments on it. So, there is my update!

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04-01-2006
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Well, that's great to know! Thanks for the update.

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16-01-2006
  13
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I'm glad you are happy with your new alpaca sweater.

Alpaca fibre comes in a range of qualities, just as sheep wool does. The higher the quality, the more you pay. There are relatively few alpacas compared with sheep so it is rarer and costs more. As with all animal fibres, though, the processors put a premium on the product so what the final product costs bears very little resemblance to what the farmer actually gets for the raw product. Because alpaca is a bit more unusual it has more 'scarcity' value or 'exotic' value. It also has qualities that sheep wool doesn't have, and can produce lovely soft, light fabrics and woollens.

Alpacas and llamas are both used for fleece production but generally alpacas have finer fleece than llamas.

Alpacas (and llamas) have a fleece made up of 2 types of fibre, like most other fleece bearing animals, including sheep. From each hair follicle in the skin they produce at least 1 'guard hair', which is straighter, stiffer and takes dye less well, and several fleece fibres, which are the soft, silky, smooth ones. The more of these second type of fibres in a section of fleece, the better. The more of the guard hairs, or primary fibres, the more prickly and itchy it will feel.

Fleece producers aim to breed fleeces which have lots of the nice soft fibres and very few of the prickly guard hairs. In processing, the guard hairs can be taken out, which is what happens with cashmere, but if the processor doesn't bother with this and if the fleece is of poorer quality (i.e., it has a lot of guard hairs in it) then the final product will tend to be more itchy and prickly. This is sometimes referred to as the 'prickle factor'.

You will find exactly the same thing with sheep wool. In good quality sheep wool, there are relatively few prickly guard hairs, or they have been bred to be finer and softer (more like the nice fleece fibres), or they have been removed in processing.

The better the fleece, the more it is worth. Also, the better the processing, the more the customer pays.

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