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Why Your Next Suit Should Be Made of Alpaca Wool

The simultaneously rugged and ultra-soft fabric is making waves in the world of luxury fashion.

Those tapped into travel and culinary scenes know that the past few years have seen an unexpected gastronomic revolution in the rise of Peruvian food and an explosion in travel to places like Cusco and the Sacred Valley. But recent years have also seen the emergence of another luxurious South-American tradition—the wool of vicugna pacos. The fleece of the long-lashed, super-cute alpaca has become a sought-after exotic fabric, and top fashion houses like Giorgio Armani, Max Mara, and Loro Piana have long used wool from the alpaca’s close relative, the vicuña, in their luxe collections.

While not as over-the-top luxurious as vicuña (which easily garners price tags of $15,000 and up), alpaca pieces combine the softness of cashmere with the wear-everywhere ruggedness of the roughest sheep’s wool. This versatility is put on sumptuous display in Italian house Canali’s latest collection, which centered around handsome alpaca overcoats (from $1,775)—like the sleek double-breasted, wrap, and utility-jacket styles shown here.

This influx in demand for fine alpaca wool caused ex-financier Edward Ebbern to forgo his industry job in London to become a producer of alpaca clothes for men in the rural county of Dorset. His line, Wyvern Tailoring, was founded with “three animals, and now we have 22,” says Ebbern. “We produce 100 percent alpaca tweed using fiber from the herd, despite being told that it couldn’t be done.” With his dedicated mill, young tweed designer, and experienced weaver, the brand has grown into a fully fledged tailoring house. The only producer of luxe alpaca tweed tailoring, Ebbern explains that when creating the brand’s classically minded clothing, “We choose to work with natural colors as they reflect the light well and guarantees softness.” The result of this careful construction are bespoke jackets ($5,300), bespoke suits ($6,100), and unique bespoke alpaca tweed cloth suits ($13,500) that capture all of the best qualities of the fabric. The alpaca tweed cloth suits are made in conjunction with the client every step of the way.

Wyvern Tailoring’s dedication to the fabric is not only about celebrating the best of British craftsmanship but also about highlighting the alpaca’s other advantages, as it is both hypoallergenic and allows the brand to adhere to a fair-trade ethos: “We can even introduce you to the animals it came from,” Ebbern laughs.

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