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Luxury Fibers: Comparisons of Alpaca, Mohair, Cashmere & Merino

When you hear the words, “luxury fiber”, what comes to mind? Fabrics made from alpaca, Merino, cashmere, and mohair could certainly make the list. Cashmere, with its silky feel; the warmth and strength of mohair; and the softness and versatility of Merino and alpaca fibers put these textiles head and shoulders above the rest – practically in a category by themselves in the world of luxury fabrics.

Which one is which? Or which one is worth the cost? Below, we dive into the details to get some answers to those questions – defining best uses, sustainability practices, and how the production of each impacts the environment.

With goal of understanding the unique role that each fiber plays in the overall ecosystem of fast (and slow) fashion, let's take a closer look at what sets these textiles apart.





This fabric, a symbol of luxury and softness, has a story that's a mix of beauty and concern. Cashmere goats, with their fine undercoats, require expansive grazing fields. In regions like Mongolia, this need for space can lead to extensive overgrazing, disrupting delicate ecosystems and contributing to the risk of turning fertile lands into deserts. It's a significant environmental impact that's often overshadowed by the allure in cashmere’s scarcity and softness – evident in the price tags these garments typically carry.

In addition to the worrisome impact this material can have on local ecosystems, the production process carries a heavier environmental burden compared to more sustainable fibers. Some of these burdens include huge water consumption, with certain styles and varieties requiring thousands of gallons of water to produce a kilo of useable material. Also, many fibers rely on sizable portions of chemicals in production and manufacturing – potentially harming local lands and polluting local ecosystems.

As plush as it may be, each piece of cashmere is a reminder of the larger land and resource requirements needed to sustain its very production. This contrast paints a more vivid picture: one of luxury at the cost of sustainability, returning a net-negative in the potential impact to our planet.


Merino Wool



Merino wool, a darling of the textile world, comes from the fine, soft fibers of Merino sheep. Known for its comfort and exceptional thermo-regulating abilities, Merino wool has carved its own niche in the clothing and apparel industry as a go-to in cozy-yet-breathable fabrics, perfect for both chilly and active days.

Peek behind the curtain at the world of Merino sheep farming, and you’ll find a different story – one where the production of Merino wool requires more land and water resources than other similar livestock. In addition, Merino wool often undergoes various chemical treatments designed to boost the inherent quality of the fibers, adding to its (negative) environmental footprint.





Mohair, with its distinctive sheen and strength, is treasured for its ability to hold vibrant colors, adding a touch of glamour to textiles and apparel. However, the process of farming Angora goats, the source of mohair, can be resource intensive. This includes not just the land they graze on but also the water and care they require.

The intensive farming required for Angora goats often demands significant water resources for their upkeep, a factor contributing to environmental stress in certain regions. Furthermore, the land management needed to sustain these goats can lead to soil degradation and biodiversity loss, another negative impact to local ecosystems – the environmental implications of which cannot be overlooked.

In addition, untreated mohair can induce an allergic response in certain individuals – an itchy prospect for buyers of this expensive natural fiber. Despite the softness and versatility of mohair, its preference and sustainability remains a hotly debated topic among those in the textile industry.





A testament to “luxury done right”, alpaca fiber comes from alpacas, one of our planet’s most amazing grazing animals. Originally found in the Andes mountains, these fluffy friends wander their homelands (and our farm!) leaving nary a footprint – they nibble on the grass without harming the roots, a fact which prevents soil erosion and keeps the lands they graze on renewable. Sort of like nature's own landscapers!

In addition, the production of alpaca wool has some serious eco-friendly differences compared to other fibers that need tons of chemical treatment to remove impurities, enhance color, or improve texture. One notable difference between sheep's wool and alpaca wool is alpaca's natural lack of lanolin – a greasy substance found in sheep's wool that can cause skin irritation. As a general rule, sheep's wool requires more cleaning in order to be processed, whereas alpaca wool can be cleaned using milder soaps and less water – leading to less stress on water resources.

But how does alpaca feel, you might ask? Imagine wrapping yourself in a fluffy cloud (hence the name) that's not just soft and warm, but also kind to your skin. Alpaca fiber is naturally hypoallergenic, which means goodbye to skin sensitivities and itchiness. The best part? Alpaca clothing affords luxury that’s way more affordable than some others on this list, as alpaca wool is typically priced on par with Merino wool fabrics, and typically half as expensive as either cashmere or mohair.


The Verdict


Merino and cashmere, while luxurious and cozy, often come with significant environmental footprints. Mohair, though sumptuous, carries its own contested sustainability status – and along with cashmere, an often hefty price tag. Alpaca fiber, with its blend of affordable luxury and sustainability, offers a harmonious choice for the environmentally conscious – a conclusion we can certainly get behind!

In truth, we’re crazy about our alpacas and the incredible wool they produce, and we’re not afraid to say it – every piece of clothing and apparel we produce echoes a unique story of warmth, affordability, local production, and a focus on sustainable practices. Our family run alpaca farm is here to prove that fashion can be both fabulous and friendly to the planet – and with all these great features, we’re betting you’ll agree that alpaca clothing checks all the boxes.