By virtue of its softness, the alpaca yarn is sometimes compared to cashmere. Shine of silk and lightness make it even more coveted, ideal for making shoulder garments but also knits and sweaters with extraordinary aesthetic as well as practical qualities, alpaca is a resistant and comfortable material.
Belonging to the family of camelids, alpacas are part of the centuries-old history of the Andean populations. In Peru there are ancient paintings on rocks dated over 8000 years ago that represent the first interactions between the ancient Peruvian peoples and these extraordinary, curious and intelligent animals. According to historians, alpacas began to be domesticated between 4000 and 5000 BC. The Incas venerated them convinced that the Gods had given them to man to make his life possible. They are animals that love the cold climates and the extreme temperatures characteristic of the southern areas of Peru where today about eighty percent of the specimens in the world lives. They are valuable animals for the local populations, an important resource as a means of transport, sustenance and for the soft and very fine fibres obtained from their thick mantle.
The alpaca fibres are extremely lightweight, fine and delicate, and must be treated with great care. To give strength, they are often worked together with other natural fibres, such as cotton or silk, an operation that allows you to obtain more resistant garments, but equally warm, soft and elegant. Two races of alpaca live in the mountains of Peru, the Suri is the rarest, little smaller than its common cousins and boasts an undercoat of particular shine, long and silky whose colour ranges between almost twenty shades, from white, to all shades of brown, up to greys and the most intense black. The shearing from which the precious undercoat is obtained takes place once a year, between November and March. A peculiar feature of alpaca wool is the absence of lanolin and therefore it is naturally hypoallergenic. Those who are sensitive to ordinary wool will discover that they can wear alpaca without discomfort, a high quality yarn appreciated for its resistance, elasticity, water repellence and warmth.
Washing and care
Softer, stronger, warmer and lighter than merino wool, alpaca is a natural choice for winter garments and accessories. It is also resistant to "pilling" and does not shrink, alpaca garments will last for decades if carefully maintained. Always using mild soaps and preferring hand washing are universal rules for washing fine wools. Experts recommend dipping alpaca garments for 3-5 minutes, gently sliding the foam through the texture. Avoid twisting, squeezing, rubbing, gestures that could cause felting. Once washed, rinse the garment twice in clean and cold water.
For drying, it is best to place the garment between two towels and then roll the ends to absorb the excess water. Spread it again in its original shape and let it dry away from sunlight and direct heat. If crumpled after drying, it is possible to slightly vaporize the garment with an iron or simply spread it in the bathroom, and let the steam released from a hot shower attenuate the folds.
The passion that Malo employs in the choice of materials and processes is rooted in its history, knowing wools and yarns, their peculiar characteristics to obtain the best finished product is part of an essential daily process for the company. Among Malo's favourite wools is Merino, a natural fibre that is much thinner, elastic, softer and shinier than ordinary wool, so soft and comfortable that it can be worn in direct contact with the skin. Renowned for its exceptional qualities, Merino wool is resistant, breathable and water-repellent by nature, qualities that combined with shine and comfort create the perfect recipe for one of the most appreciated and sought-after materials regardless of the seasons.