At Alpaca Samka, we value simplicity and authenticity, where less is more. Our luxury garments and accessories are produced using sustainable, environmentally-friendly processes. Based on traditional Andean production methods, and since re-discovering that the Aymara peoples originally wove for the 19th century British immigrant workers of the potash saltpetre offices in the Atacama Desert, we incorporate traditional British heritage weaving patterns to produce timeless collections celebrating both the Aymara’s weaving methods combined with the historic British textiles legacy.
For Alpaca Samka, clothing is an Art – we do not follow fashion trends but create mostly “one of a kind unique pieces”, always concerned with production processes and optimum results producing timeless collections of the highest quality textiles with an infinite lifespan and always carrying the essence of nature.
For us, the Alpaca fibre, and using the most environmentally friendly production processes to obtain the final product, is vital – PLUS having a positive social impact while keeping the ancient traditions of our Aymara collaborators. Our commitment to social and environmental sustainability has been recognised by Alpaca Samka being awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury.
Around 32,000 English settled in Valparaíso, influencing the port city so much making it virtually a British colony during the last decades of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Valparaíso had whole neighbourhoods of British character, schools, social clubs, sports clubs, business organizations and newspapers. However, the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War changed this and drove many away from the city or back to Europe. Even today the British influence is apparent in many areas such as commerce and finance and the navy, as well as social activities such as football, horse racing, and the custom of drinking tea!
British investment helped Chile become prosperous and during the movement for Chile’s independence (1818), it was mainly the British who helped form the Chilean Navy, under the command of Lord Cochrane. British seamen helped the Chilean navy become a strong force in the South Pacific. Chile won two wars, the first against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation and the second, the War of the Pacific, in 1878-79, against an alliance between Peru and Bolivia. The liberal-socialist “Revolution of 1891” introduced political reforms modelled on British parliamentary practice and legislation.
British immigrants were also important in the northern zone of the country during the potash saltpetre boom, in the ports of Iquique and Pisagua. The main Potash Saltpetre industrialists were John Thomas North, along with Santiago Humberstone.
Some Scots settled in the country’s more austral (southern) regions, where the climate and the stark landscape may have reminded them of the Highlands and Northern Scotland. An important contingent of British (principally Scottish and Irish) immigrants arrived between 1914 and 1950, settling in the present-day region of Magallanes, especially the city of Punta Arenas when it flourished as a major global seaport for ships using the Strait of Magellan to transit from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. British families were also established in other areas of the country, such as Santiago, Coquimbo, the Araucanía, and Chiloé.
The cultural legacy of the British in Chile persists and has spread beyond the British -Chilean community into society at large. It was British technology in mining, the railways, maritime infrastructure, and other industrial applications which predominated in the country in the latter half of the 19th century, continuing through the 1930’s. Many of these British engineers and technicians, who came to Chile to support this British equipment and engineering, remained in the country. Even Chile’s modern system of lighthouses was largely the result of British expertise and technology. Towards the end of the 19th century, Scottish engineer George Slight designed and constructed 70 lighthouses, most of which are still in operation.
Chile currently has the largest population of British descendants in Latin America. Over 700,000 Chileans have British amounting to around 4% of Chile’s population.