fleecing you: Alpaca Sol

Alpaca Sol is actually Emma and Amy and they will warm you right up with their alpaca wares this winter. Brought in from Bolivia, you can find them at Chatsworth Road, Richmond and a bunch of other markets. You should go get yourself snugged up. Josh Jones had a quick chat with them.

Hello Alpaca Sol, how the very devil are you today?
Not too shabby. Good of you to ask. And very warm. So warm in fact we would be sweating if we weren’t dressed head to toe in alpaca wool which is a breathable fibre, don’t you know.

I did not. How did you get into the old alpaca clothes import game?
Emma spent three years sewing her wild oats in South America and while she was in Bolivia she met Maxima and Reynaldo who own a little family run workshop in La Paz. We had wanted to do something together since we first met many moons ago in a puddle of sick on a Thai beach and suddenly it seemed we were both in a position to pool our (meagre) resources and WALLAH! Alpaca Sol was born.

Where does all your stuff come from? Is it responsibly sourced or are there factories of GM alpacas being forced to grow socks out of their backs?
Alpaca sweat shops mainly. Initially it was difficult to get the alpacas to knit (the hooves proved problematic) but with the prostetic hands we now provide, one alpaca can knit up to 40 pairs of socks a day. On a slightly more serious note – yes, our stuff is responsibly sourced. We know the family personally and although not formally registered as Fair Trade we adhere closely to the principles it promotes.

People may well have seen you selling your wares at many festivals this summer – which one was the best one?
Watchet festival was by far the best festival we attended this summer. The Wurzals AND The Cheeky Girls on the same line up?!! Spoilt for choice. We’ve being going to festivals for years but trading was a whole new experience. We met so many great people and loved the comradery between the stall holders. Plus it was just nice to to be working outside – a far cry from our ‘normal jobs’ (teacher and nurse)

What would you recommend for the city gent this forthcoming winter?
No city slicker should leave the house this winter without his 100% alpaca willy warmer to keep out the cold. Failing that our alpaca socks are super snug and our alpaca scarves in natural colours are stylish and cosy.

Where can people get the hands on (and in) some Alpaca Sol wear?
We are chocablock with markets and fairs in the run up to Christmas so come on down and see us. We’ll be at Chatsworth Road Market in Clapton this Sunday (11th Nov) and again on 23rd Nov. It’s a great little market – like Broadway in the early days before it got so hip. We’ll also be at a huge ethical Xmas Fair at The Horniman Museum, South London on 8th/9th Dec, and we have a few dates at Duckponds Market, Richmond lined up too. You can find details of all our upcoming events and products on our facebook page and we’re in the process of setting up an online shop on Bluesette.net where you’ll be able to get hold of all your winter warmers.

Photo: Tom Medwell

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