Slow fashion and Heritage
Alpaca Samka rescues the British textile heritage link between the UK and Chile. Our collections are based on the history of British immigrants from Patagonian sheep ranches, the Pacific port of Valparaíso and the potash saltpetre mines of the Atacama Desert (especially Humberstone).
Other collections based on the 1920’s – such as Natural – combine alpaca fibre, merino wool and linen (from the Crossville Holland & Sherry mill in Tomé, Chile – which uses merino wool from the Falklands and Patagonia, blended to produce a unique look and feel.
The Old Port collection, is based on the book “Dreaming Valparaíso”, which describes the history of British immigrants in the Pacific port of Valparaíso – and the dandy look, which was typical of the immigrants of the 1920’s (Oxford shoes, waistcoats and flat caps).
The Australis collection was inspired by the Patagonia sheep ranches (that were mostly run by British companies) and the Welsh, English and Scottish settlers.
Having developed collections based on the British textiles legacy in Chile, Alpaca Samka participated in an exhibition at the London Chilean Embassy called “The Best of Chilean Design” (organized by the Chilean Trade Commission Office – ProChile – and World Latin Trends. The featured collection was Humberstone. Alpaca Samka was subsequently chosen and mentored by the UK DIT (Department of International Trade) to take part in the UK Latin American Inward Investment Project.
We are now establishing a textile studio in the UK to assist with production of new collections based on local UK places or history. Work has started on our Beagle collection (honouring the Beagle 3 Project). Another collection in development will be Red House (using natural dyes from local plants such as Madder and Woad – which was historically harvested specifically for dying from next to Severn River in Tewkesbury).
Other important milestones:
Alpaca Samka was nominated for the Best Sustainable Luxury Performance in Accessories and Garments (LATAM) for three consecutive years.
We have represented Chile for the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, and have also participated in the World Latin Trends fashion shows in London and Santiago, and have been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (LATAM).
50% of our production is made in association with the Aymara weavers in Chile with the rest made here in Gloucestershire in our studio using alpaca fibre sourced from both Chile and the UK, combined with wool from UK.