The most expensive fabric in the world


The most expensive fabric in the world is wool, which comes from the vicuña and can only be shorn from the animal once every two to three years. The vicuña is part of the camelid family, of which the alpaca and llama are two others whose wool is also sought after and valued. However, they are nowhere in the league of the vicuña fleece. The vicuña animal is said to be the most graceful of the camelid family, and its wool is the very best.

Vicuna

The vicuña is not a new animal, living in the higher areas of the Andes, in South America. This wool was very valued by the Incas and is just as highly valued today, standing as the most expensive fabric in the world. Its popularity is due to it being luxuriously soft, exceptionally fine and very warm.

The price of the fabric reflects the rarity of an animal that is only shorn every 2-3 years and apparently is a little difficult to catch, being quite feral. Vicuña is approximately £2800 per yard, but one company has even woven gold into the vicuña fabric, at a cost of course, of £3600 per yard.

Loro Piana, a family run Italian luxury clothing company who specialises in delicate cashmere and fine merino, also use vicuña wool and have bought a lot of acreage in Argentina to ensure their access to this fleece. They are also ensuring the survival of this curious little animal. They recently sold much of their business to LVMH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton; such is the esteem that both companies are held.

There are other companies using the extremely elite vicuña wool, and this will be on many peoples ‘must have’ list.


Comments (5)

  1. michelle says:

    Serious? What do people make with it? Is the animal endangered? Where is it sold? I don’t know who to ask for help…can you help me?

    • Thepinch says:

      This animal is not endangered. It produces a very delicate wool. You can answer your own question by googling.

  2. Kathy Bernett says:

    Only fiber from sheep can properly be called “wool”.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      Are you sure about this, Kathy? Everything I’m reading when researching this seems to contradict this:

      eg. Wikipedia:

      Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids.

      Discover Magazine:

      Many of us associate wool with sheep, but other mammals — including alpacas, camels and goats — also produce fibers that can be twisted into yarn and then textiles.

      Cambridge Dictionary:

      the soft, thick hair that grows on the bodies of sheep and some other animals

      Merriam Webster:

      the soft wavy or curly usually thick undercoat of various hairy mammals and especially the sheep made up of a matrix of keratin fibers and covered with minute scales

      Madehow.com:

      While most people picture only sheep when they think of wool, other animals also produce fine protein fiber. Various camels, goats, and rabbits produce hair that is also classified as wool.

    • Kathy Bernett says:

      You probably know of the British wool industry’s initiative to keep the term “wool” as only used when talking about the fiber from sheep. I learned about this through a program called “Wovember” (now sadly disbanded), a group whose mission was to keep the “wool” designation from becoming a generic term for all fiber animals. Their program ran during the month of November for several years and the many articles can probably still be found on the Internet. Since you have found so many references that still use “wool” for all animal fibers, it sounds like there is still a long way to go before the term “wool” will be kept just for sheep.

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