Very, very good things come from Peru. Like Paddington Bear and the perfect, indispensably beautiful sweater made from alpaca, yarn of the gods and kings and queens. Are you admiring these beautiful, forever, light as air, sustainable luxury, baby alpaca crew sweaters? They come in smoke grey and camel, and deserve to be in every thinking, chic woman’s wardrobe.
There is a whiff of the fashion boffin about Eleanor O’Neill, the knitwear designer behind Study 34, who conceived these timeless sustainable luxury fashion treasures. As she explains, rather compellingly, on the phone, alpaca is a remarkable fibre defined by the harsh climate in which the alpaca live and graze.
Alpaca – The Gold of the Andes
Garments made from the yarn known as the ‘ gold of the Andes’ drape effortlessly, won’t crease, feel deliciously, ethereally light and soft, and come in a remarkable spectrum of natural colours, thus they do not require dyeing, making them 100 biodegradable. The other remarkable quality of alpaca is the way the yarn adapts to a huge range in temperature. Quite simply, alpaca is a chameleon intelligent fibre, keeping you cool in summer and toasty in the dead of winter.
Isn’t nature clever?
Eleanor tells me that is she is on a mission – ” To bring us closer to the origins and stories behind our clothing.” I think she has succeeded rather well, for she has passion for both design and storytelling.
This is a story of 21st century fashion design collaboration with the indigenous artisans of Peru, and harnessing knowledge about alpaca handed down through families for generations.
Alpaca are Green and Sexy Animals!
Alpaca are very green animals. “They are not over-bread, their cushion paws don’t damage the land they walk on and the way they graze protects the local eco system,” explains Ellie. Beauty, sustainability, longevity and a wonderful fashion story behind the garments we fall in love with are all qualities to admire and they are forever in vogue. For what is beauty without ethics? Eleanor is one to watch. She is supported by the Prince’s Trust, and she has some very serious fashion design experience behind her, working for Stefanel in Italy, Hugo Boss in Switzerland and Li Fung in New York.
Ultimately, Ellie didn’t like the way that big fashion businesses operate, and she decided she wanted to run away and join the fashion revolution movement, and make very beautiful, wardrobe essentials with compassion, authenticity and transparency. And no wonder she has pulled it off. Eleanor is a fizzing, green and sexy fashion supernova, waiting to explode into our hearts and wardrobes with her sustainably modern fashion ideas. I like this way of making fashion, don’t you? I want to fall in love with the stories behind my clothes, and then create some of my own.
Working with Traditional Artisans in Peru
Now, not only did Ellie go all the way to Peru, to work with the local artisans at Incalpaca in Arequipa, to make these delightful alpaca crew staples, and support the local community, but she also champions other ethical designers, with her online slow fashion marketplace, Study 34. Take a look.
She also makes the most delightful videos, where she somewhat breathlessly and infectiously tells the authentic stories behind her slow luxury, alpaca sweater revolution and shares some really fascinating tips and ideas about alpaca. She is a one-woman walking talking fashion professor!
The result is a fashion story that leaves the discerning visitor seriously smitten, a bit like running into a real life Paddington Bear.
For more info on Study 34 and Ellie’s gorgeous modern sustainably luxury alpaca collection visit the website – Study 34 We also have a code for you to get £10 off your first purchase. Our Ethical Hedonist Magazine code is EH2017 – for you to apply at the checkout.