Llama fiber is an all-natural, biodegradable fiber produced by llamas raised in their native environment, the Andes Mountains of South America. The fiber is hand-shorn annually by native growers, processed chemical free, and spun and woven into yarns and fabrics that are sewn into garments by local mills. This continues a centuries-old industry that allows the natives to enjoy a greater level of stability by selling into today's world economy.
Maintenance and Longevity
Llama fiber is very strong and easy to clean. It is washable and air dries quickly. The fiber generates little static electricity and is naturally clean minimizing the frequency of washing. It is naturally stain resistant and naturally antimicrobial. The fabric is very durable and resilient and doesn't mat or pill.
Comfort and Appearance
Llama fiber has a fine diameter and low scale which gives fabrics a naturally soft hand and luxurious feel. Llamas produce fiber in an array of natural colors that are rich looking, all-natural, and won't fade. Basic neutral colors incorporated with traditional designs give garments a long fashion life and they coordinate well.
Llama fiber is hollow and provides superior insulation over synthetics and wool. Insulating capacity, coupled with its natural moisture regulation, produces a much wider comfort range (+/-50 degrees) than other fabrics. The fabric sheds moisture, is warm when wet, and dries quickly. It is wind-resistant, quiet-wearing, and is flame retardant and self-extinguishing. Production Llama fiber is an all-natural, renewable product. It is shorn annually from the llama, a native of the Altiplano (high plain, 10,000’-14,000’) region of the Andes Mountains of South America. The llama is a domestic camelid species, raised for centuries by the native Quechua people for food, fiber, and transportation. At present llama fiber is underutilized and contributes primarily to a subsistent native economy. Llamas and alpacas are the only domestic species well-adapted to, and compatible with, the harsh yet fragile Altiplano environment.
Llama fiber is sustainable because it is produced as a by-product of a natural environment and is harvested with minimal damage to that environment and the llamas that produce it. There is no petroleum consumed as a fiber substrate or energy input in its production. Because llama fiber does not require chemicals in processing or production, the industrial impact on the environment is minimal and assures sustainability. Llama fiber is organically produced. The animals are indigenous to the Altiplano and browse native plants with great efficiency. Because they are a natural part of the ecology of the region, llamas have a healing effect on the land which is in need of restoration after centuries of exploitation by colonial species.
Llamas and the Quechua culture The Quechua culture (the Incas are probably the most notable ethnicity) was highly developed prior to the Spanish conquest of the Andean region. The llama played a prominent role in the region's pre-conquest culture and economy. Colonization displaced these people, their culture, and their economy and they remain marginalized today. Establishment of a market for llama fiber and the textile/clothing production associated with it offers an opportunity for these people to reinstate a part of their native culture in a manner that is compatible with their environment and allows their participation in a viable, sustainable economy.
Many thanks to Stan Ebel (Altiplano Insulation), who granted us permission to copy information from his site.
To view amazing garments made of 100% llama fiber, click Altiplano Insulation logo below.