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Postcard from Peru

Postcard from Peru
Each year we visit the Peruvian alpacas, mills and people who all contribute to creating our exquisite range of alpaca throws and shawls. This year, heavy rains caused major flooding and severe mudslides, which meant sadly we were unable to access the highland alpaca farms who supply our wool. It is the worst flooding they’ve had in the Arequipa region for ten years and has caused devastating damage to infrastructure. The people there are very poor and now having to cope with a natural disaster like this is unimaginable. The situation has become desperate, with homes, roads and businesses being swept away. We really feel for them, and it is now more important than ever to keep supporting them through our good business.

Arequipa being the textile capital of the world means the local economy relies on this trade as their main source of income. We source direct from the highest grade suppliers in this native wool region, not only because they have the softest and finest quality alpaca wool available, but also because the alpaca farmers we deal with have the greatest respect for their animals that are their livelihood, with sustainable farms and highest welfare standards. Native to Peru, alpacas were domesticated by the Incas more than 6000 years ago and raised for their incredible fleece. This trade has been instrumental in developing growth in this region.

Postcard from Peru

When in Peru, one must visit the awe-inspiring and breathtakingly beautiful Machu Picchu. A herd of llamas live here. The most papped llamas in the world with all the attention they receive. Llamas do look pretty similar to alpacas, both being camelids. As well as being local celebrities these elegant and gentle creatures are here gardening, eating the natural unfertilised grass. Llama wool isn’t used for textiles as its not soft enough. 
Pre-Columbian textile museum.
With our passion for textiles, we visited the Amano, pre-Columbian textile museum. Providing a treasure trove of ideas, inspiration and knowledge, still so relevant today. Rimsky was like a kid in a sweet shop with textiles being his craft and his background in fashion design. It’s mystifying the sublime textiles the ancient Andean people produced and with absolutely no machinery. The techniques they developed and are still used by Peruvian artisans today. Textile design and manufacture is in the Peruvians’ DNA. Renowned for their high level of technical skill. One reason the production of our exclusive alpaca wool range is kept here, truly where it belongs.

The Mill

The mills are located in the highlands of the Andes. The machines are pretty old school, but do an expert job at weaving, washing, pressing and folding. Actually, half the job of producing our alpaca throws and shawls is actually done lovingly by hand. This photo here shows part of the pre-finishing process where the original technique of brushing with a thistle is done to the wool textiles. This pulls out tiny fibres from the natural fibres in order to produce a smoother surface. The people here take real pride in their work which can be seen in the fineness and quality of the finished product. 

Every year we are personally invited to Peru Moda show in Lima by the Peruvian Embassy in London. Due to our efforts to lead by all means a good business. We believe that our business should not only give natural warmth to our customers but also contribute to the better world, which is another reason why we use only sustainable alpaca fleece made and processed in Peru. Here we meet the makers and artisans to discuss the possibilities of making our new ideas and designs. We are excited to say we have many new and beautiful woollen wonders on the horizon, we know you are going to love. Hats with matching scarves, new blankets, new colours and new 100% alpaca throws.

And look who made it back in our suitcase! 100% handmade in alapaca wool by local artisan family. A new addition to the House of So Cosy coming soon, we’ve got wholesome plans for this little fella so watch this space. Other news is that whilst over in Peru, Rimsky has gone all colonial on us and has been inspired to design a poncho. Just. Cant. Wait! Love a poncho! Well done you lovely people for sticking with us if you read through all this!

Alpaca Toy