What is Sustainable?Β 

Sustainability and eco-friendly are concepts that get thrown around in every industry and every walk of life, all over the world. But what "sustainable" and "eco-friendly" actually mean varies widely, especially in the clothing world.Β 

Looking At Other Fabrics

Some "Sustainable" Fabrics May Cause More Harm Than Good

There are many fabrics on the market that, on the face if of it, seem to come from sustainable or eco-friendly sources. However, if you dig a little deeper, you find that they come with negative environmental impacts, sometimes potentially outweighing the initial benefits.

Cotton Uses Loads of Water

Cotton is a renewable natural fibre and in itself is biodegradable, so is often considered to be a sustainable fibre. However, cotton is a mono-crop, taking over large areas of natural habitat and according to The World Wild Life1, it takes about 20,000 litres of water to produce enough cotton (1kg) for one t-shirt and one pair of jeans!Β Additionally, conventional cotton production uses high volumes of pesticides, which are harmful to farmers and toxic to our environment.

Cotton uses lot of water in their production
Recycled polyester releases micro-plastics in the ocean

Recycled Polyester Releases Micro-plastics

Some synthetic fabrics, like polar fleece, can be made from recycled plastic bottles, which seems like a great way to reduce trash in the world and reduce the use of non-renewable petrochemicals. But chemical processing and micro-plastic leeching are issues associated with these fabrics that are potentially environmentally harmful.

Toxic Chemicals In Rayon's Production

Rayon is a plant-based product - clothing that grows on trees - but lack of control means toxic chemicals can end up in waterways and plantations of trees and bamboo for rayon production mean mass deforestation.

Rayon fibers use toxic chemicals
Super washing merino wool uses chemicals and too much water

Super-Wash Merino Wool Uses Harmful Chemicals

Sheep's wool is a natural fibre that can be produced without killing the animal and it regrows each year, so seems pretty sustainable. However, vast swathes of land that could be habitats for native flora and fauna - in New Zealand and Australia for example - are dedicated to grazing sheep for wool production; large quantities of water and often chemicals are needed to wash sheep's wool to remove the lanolin and β€œscales” to make wool clothing machine-washable and comfortable to wear; and sheep’s wool production often involves practices that are seen as inhumane (such as mulesing), but that producers claim are their only option.

Mass Production = A Bigger Carbon FootprintΒ 

Additionally, all of the fabrics listed above generally create huge carbon footprints after their initial production, as the different stages of fabric and garment production are done in separate factories, often in several countries across the globe. Of course, any step we can take makes a difference and can have an overall positive impact, but is there something even better?


Alpacas Take Care Of The Earth

We source our alpaca wool exclusively from highland areas of Peru where alpacas are adapted to live naturally. These natural adaptationsΒ  - listed below - help to reduce the environmental impact of alpaca wool production, in comparison to some of the other technical fibres on the market.

Natural & Biodegradable Fibre

Alpaca wool is a natural fibre that undergoes minimal processing, without chemicals that can damage the environment, so in itself can be considered biodegradable. We are also working on a new line which will involve natural dyeing techniques, developed over thousands of years in Peru. The dyes are all naturally-occurring and can be fixed with mineral salts. The use of natural fibres, natural dyes and other innovations, allows us to work towards making our products 100% biodegradable; so when you eventually need to retire your Arms of Andes clothing, you can do so knowing that it won’t cause any damage to the environment.

Family-run Farms

Sustainable FarmingΒ 

Our alpaca wool comes directly from alpaca herders in the Peruvian Andes, whose families have been employing traditional techniques to rear alpacas and harvest their fibre for generations. Family-run farms raise the alpacas in small herds, having close and constant contact with the animals. The farmers then form co-ops to sell the wool for the best price available to them. Alpacas in the Peruvian Andes are not β€œfarmed” in the modern sense: instead, the animals are free roaming, allowed to graze up to 4,800m during the day, before being herded back to shelter at night. While alpacas have a more natural lifestyle than most livestock, they are still looked after by the farmers and have access to regular veterinary care when needed.

Woman looking at the alpacas in Peruvian High Lands
Woman using alpaca wool in Peru

Peruvian Production Boosts The Local Economy

All our outdoor clothing is produced exclusively in Peru, generating many jobs locally for alpaca herders, shearers, fibre sorters, drivers and factory workers among others. This helps to promote the local economy, as well as encourage people from the Andean highlands to maintain a more traditional way of life.Β 

Our Small Carbon Footprint

the map of arms of andes production

Single-Sourced and Made In Peru

Once the Alpaca fibre has been produced, it is processed into yarn, dyed and woven into a specially designed fabric, which is then used to create our high-performance garments. Rather than shipping the yarn or even fabric to the US, we decided to carry out entire production process in Peru. We do this to ensure quality, reduce our overall carbon footprint and ensure we are producing as sustainable and eco-friendly product as possible.

As well as the final procucts, our fabrics are made in Peruvian factories, close enough to the sources of the alpaca wool so that transport can be done overland. From the Peruvian factories, your garments are shipped to a regional distributor and then striaght to you, reducing the number of flights involved in the production process and overall carbon footprint from transport.Β 

" As nature lovers, we care about the environment and the impact our company and personal actions have on the environment. By producing and using 100% alpaca wool apparel, we can help minimize the impact of clothing production and commerce, making it one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly clothing products around. "

- AoA Team