MILAN–Alpaca, the fleece that is shorn from camelid animals at over 11 thousand feet in the Peruvian Andes, is having a moment. To celebrate its ascent into the luxury stratosphere as the ultimate sustainable material, representatives from Italy’s vanguard brands met at a dinner held at Milan’s upscale Pacifico restaurant — a new hotspot in the Brera district that specialises in “haute” Peruvian cuisine.
Mrs. Amora Carbajal, Director of the Peruvian Trade Office in Italy and representatives from Prada, Versace, DSquared2, as well as Constanza Etro, and emerging designers like Luca Larenza, attended the dinner that kicked off with pisco sour cocktails and ceviches enhanced with imported mais and exotic, peppery creams.
Larenza, a knitwear designer, will be experimenting with soft, furry alpaca yarns in his upcoming collections, later this year.
In an age where fashion is striving for a 360 degree sustainable industry, alpaca has enticed top brands like Fendi and MaxMara, which have already crafted alpaca into their collections due to its luxuriously soft nature, as well as its anti-cruelty, hypoallergenic and non-flammable nature.
This winter, MaxMara incorporated its soft, furry hairs into its fall winter collection of sleek jackets – proving alpaca fleece which is shorn from live animals or its fur, which is taken only from animals that have already died, is a sustainable alternative to traditional furs like mink and beaver.
“Unethical” furs have recently been sworn off by big brands like Gucci, whose ceo declared earlier this year that those materials are no longer “modern” in an industry driven by millennials. Fendi, which is known for its historic use of furs like for example, incorporated Alpaca in their special editions of its Kan I F and Mini Kan I F handbags, demonstrating that alpaca also has a place in the accessories world.
The dinner in Milan was held on December 12 was held primarily to promote Alpaca del Perú, a brand that belongs to the Peruvian government, and was launched in 2014.
Since then, a series of activities have been carried out for its promotion. The creation of this brand has been the result of the efforts of both the public and private sectors, in which the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur), Prom-Peru, the Peruvian Institute of South American Camelids and the Textil-Alpaquero Cluster have been active participants in promoting alpaca through trade missions to the United States, South Korea, Japan, France, Italy and Nordic countries, as well as China, where the first multi-brand store solely dedicated to garments and accessories made with Alpaca del Peru from the Peruvian Andes has been opened in Beijing, China in the high-end Wangfujing shopping centre.
“In Italy, the big brands have gravitated to vicuña and cashmere, but alpaca also has its place in the same spectrum. It is also more economical than vicuña,” said Luca Alvigini, who is based in Biella whose family has been sourcing Peruvian alpaca for top Italian brands for over a half century.