Softly Softly brings you a collection of the finest products produced from one of the most exclusive fibres in the world – alpaca fibre.
Sustainable, eco-friendly and ethical alpaca is truly the perfect fabric for today’s environmentally responsible consumer. Alpaca fibre is soft, lightweight, hypoallergenic and temperature control.
This beautiful fibre was treasured by the ancient South American Andean civilisations, who reserved alpaca for Incan royalty.
For the Inca people, alpaca had a higher value than both silver and gold.
It is known as “The Fibre of the Gods” It remains one of the worlds most beautiful natural products.
We have collections for women that include beautiful alpaca and silk blend shawls, alpaca multi-way blanket wraps that can be worn as a wrap, a scarf or as a gorgeous cosy throw for your home. New for A/W 20 are 100% premium alpaca capes, the perfect accessory as the nights draw in.
For men we have stunning 100% premium alpaca scarves.
Softly Softly have designed, in collaboration with a fibre mill in Scotland, an exclusive 50/50 yarn blend from our own premium alpaca fleece and rose fibre. Rose fibre is produced from the stems of roses and is comparable to silk for strength and lustre but is more sustainable as it is a by-product of rose production and would normally be discarded. We breed our own elite award-winning alpacas on our farm in Northampton, UK. By using our own alpaca fibre we can trace every part of the production and ensure the highest standards of animal care. The ‘Alpaca Rose’ collection is designed by us and handwoven in Scotland. Our baby range has ‘Alpaca Rose’ blankets and accessories for very special little people. All woven, knitted and crocheted by hand.
Our lifestyle home collection includes ‘Alpaca Rose’ and 100% alpaca throws, blankets and cushions.
A small family run business manufactures our alpaca bedding range that includes duvets, pillows and mattress toppers. Alpaca fibre is naturally dry and anti-allergenic, as there is no lanolin, therefore it does not attract dust mites. This is a great benefit for any asthma or allergy sufferers. The hollow individual fibres trap air, keeping you cool and dry during sleep in the summer months and warm in the winter. This benefit eliminates the need for different bedding for different seasons. The bedding is filled with 100% UK fibre, the outer layers are natural cotton. The manufacturers are approved by the Vegetarian Society and are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified.
For the alpaca products, we source from Peru, again we take great care to only work with companies that have the highest standards both for their employees and their alpacas. Our main supplier supports the indigenous local population with education, healthcare and excellent working environments.
We have recently launched a brand new travel set. Made from 100% premium alpaca it includes a stunning blanket, that can also be worn as a wrap or a scarf. Cosy alpaca socks, a contoured eye mask and a travel mask make up the set. Best of all the bag has a silk lining so it can be turned inside out and used as a pillowcase. Available in light grey or navy blue. This is the ultimate travel accessory and totally unique to Softly Softly.
5 Compelling reasons to buy Alpaca
Alpaca are the most sustainable of all the fleece providing animals. There are 4 million alpacas in the world, (compared to 450 million cashmere goats.) Alpacas have soft padded feet that do not destroy the soil or vegetation roots, meaning more grasslands stay available for grazing. They also only eat surface vegetation.
In contrast, cashmere goats have sharp hooves that damage the root systems, and they pull out each plant as they graze so the native Chinese and Mongolian lands are turning into desert. Alpacas also drink less water than other breeds. Fleece from one alpaca can make 4 sweaters, in comparison 4 cashmere goats provide enough fibre for just one sweater.
90% of alpacas are bred in South America where this ancient custom has supported indigenous farmers for 5000 years. The alpacas are free to graze across large areas. Luxury cashmere has now become mainstream with 170 million items of clothing produced in 2002 to rise to 650 million in 2016. In contrast, the alpaca numbers have reduced as the next generation of herders is choosing a different way of life. The larger Peruvian alpaca companies invest and support the farming families with education, healthcare and excellent working environments.
Alongside the sustainability, the processes in producing alpaca fibre are much kinder to the environment. As the fleece has no lanolin harsh chemicals are not needed to wash and clean the fleece. The alpaca has 22 official shades of natural colour, so the use of dyes is much less common than with other fibres. If the colour is needed, then most companies use plant and vegetable-based dyes. Due to the lack of lanolin, the fibres do not attract dust mites so are hypoallergenic and suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers.
Alpacas are rounded up each year in the spring for shearing, which not only provides the amazing fibre but removes the thick fleece before the temperatures rise in the summer months. Without this annual shearing the alpacas would suffer heatstroke and often would die. The shearing process is done as gently and calmly as possible and immediately afterwards the alpacas are released back onto their grazing lands. Alpaca are never killed for their fur as they are far more valuable as a fleece provider each year. When an alpaca dies of natural causes they will provide meat and fur to further supplement the farmer’s income.
‘The Super Fibre’
Alpaca fibre does not have the ‘prickle factor’ due to the smooth surface of the fibres. The mainly hollow fibres of an alpaca also make them ideal for temperature control.
They perform better than cotton in humid conditions and are warmer than wool in cooler seasons. Alpaca fibre has the softness of cashmere but much more durability due to the longer length of the fibres, this means more elasticity and no pilling. A high-quality alpaca product will last for years and is a great investment.