What separates good alpaca fibre from other natural fibres is the beautiful soft handle and the lustre or sheen. The handle can often confuse one into thinking they are handling fibre of a lower micron. Add to this a range of 22 natural colours and it is understandable why so many spinners and weavers cannot get enough of this unique fibre.
With just 40,000 alpacas in New Zealand, alpaca fibre will remain a scarce commodity for quite some time. There is simply not enough clean, fine quality alpaca fibre available to meet the local demand, let alone the international markets of China, Japan, England, Europe and North America.
The demand for alpaca fibre has surged in the last few years and this in turn has led to vastly increased prices for alpaca fibre. Most importantly there are now buyers for all of the fleece, not just the blanket. Prices range from $20 + GST per kg for well - skirted, good quality fleece down to $3 + GST for poor quality fleece including the bellies and lower legs. Many alpaca breeders have standing purchase orders for their fleece.
Silverstream Alpaca Stud retain all under 20 micron fibre for their own product range but will offer it for sale to the discerning buyer.
The potential for the apparel industry is enormous for manufacturers, spinners and weavers. A fibre that is fine yet soft with no prickle factor and that has excellent thermal qualities will surely endear itself to the discerning public and ensure a successful future for the industry.Jerseys, scarves, hats, gloves, fashion garments, underwear and outdoor thermal gear are just some of the clothing that is available around New Zealand today.