Llama Manufacture

The llama is native to the highlands of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru and although its fur is used as a fibre for making materials, the hide of the Llama can also be processed into a leather fabric. Llama leather usually comes in either black or brown as its natural colour but it can be dyed to achieve various colours. Many finishes can also be added to enhance the aesthetic qualities of llama leather.

Llama hide can also be processed like a pelt and made with the fur from the llama still attached, much like fur. This creates a fabric with soft, shiny hair on one side and flexible leather on the other. The Llama was first domesticated over 6000 years ago and during this time, it was used for its meat. A by-product of this meat production was the hide. These ancient civilisations used the hide, learned how to preserve it using tanning products and made them into garments.

Even today, Llama hide is only usually derived from the animal after it has been killed for the meat, or if it has died from natural causes. For this reason, Llamas are not endangered and they are sustainably managed, meaning their numbers will never become too low. Llama hunting was forbidden because of the amount of other things they contributed to the society.

Llama leather came back into Fashion in the 19th Century after it was rediscovered as a leather material. By the middle of the 20th Century the popularity of Llama leather had decreased again because of the moral implications associated with it.

Properties of Llama

  • Highly resistant to low temperatures
  • Resilient
  • Versatile
  • Hardwearing
  • Flexible
  • Can be dyed many colours
  • Elastic
  • Strong
  • Luxurious fabric

Uses of Llama in Fashion Past and Present

  • Luxury handbags
  • Garments
  • Shoes
  • Slippers
  • Gloves and accessories
  • High Quality brands such as Hermes use Llama leather in their products
  • Belts

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Written by Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell, extremely competent and reliable, she is currently in her third year at the University of Lincoln UK, studying Fashion. Kelly is responsible for the Fabrics, Fibers and Leathers sections of our Dictionary

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