Value chain

We select for our products the finest natural fibers from Patagonia and the Andes. Llama, Alpaca, Vicuña and Guanaco offer a wide range of natural colors.

  

Free camelids breeding

Our supply chain begins with the sustainable breeding of South American camelids.
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South America is the only continent home to camelids without a hump. These poised animals are four, two of them are wild (guanaco and vicugna) and two are domesticated (llama and alpaca). Both wild and domesticated animals roam the Andean slopes and high plateau, feeding on the resinous leaves of the few plants that grow at these heights. Guanacos and vicugnas are protected species that live in the heights. The latter is also bred in semi-captivity to obtain the finest and most precious wool. This valuable fibre has led the vicugna to near extinction. When purchasing this wool, it is important to know it comes from a safe source. Wild herds of both animals can be moved towards pens, through a process called “chaku”, where their soft fleece will be manually trimmed with scissors. Alpacas and llamas appear in archaeological registers to have been domesticated some 6000 years ago. Booth animals are wool producers, but as the llama is bigger, it has been used as a pack animal; while the alpaca has been a producer of an abundant fine and soft fleece.
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Raw material and fiber refinement

The Andean crafts have a strong indigenous influence. The Patagonia and the Andean weavers are among the best in the world. Their goods fulfil everyday practical activities and also their artistic manifestations, are given as gifts for the gods and the sacred mountains. Blankets to wrap up their babies, as well as to transport food; ponchos that shelter, provide hierarchy and transmit ethnical ascendancy; decorative sashes and “chupas” to carry coca leaves or as an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth).
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Classifying and separating the fibers by colour, length and thickness is a fundamental stage of the process, after which begins the cleaning of the fibers. This is done in pools with hot water and special soaps containing natural elements from the Andes. In order to dye the fibers, we work to recuperate the art of the natural taints, as this knowledge has dissipated in many regions due to extensive use of anilines. The very old from remote villages recall original dyeing techniques. Today we work towards recuperating them to save the knowledge for future generations.
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These natural fibers acquire their colours from the elements provided by the same land that saw them come to life. Flowers, seeds, fruits and tannis provide the necessary colours for the both traditional and fusion designs. The fibers are dyed in trays with hot water to later be drained off and left to dry in the sun. And lastly, they are pressed to eliminate imperfections. As a result, the products respect the unique quality of each fibre: their softness, delicacy and comfort. Natural fibres are an excellent renewable resource, being 100% biodegradable and carbon neutral.
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The abilities and techniques that carry on from the pre-Hispanic period are manual yarn spinning together with floor, vertical and waist looms. Manual spinning produces three types of yarn: the fine one used for ponchos, a thick one used for tapestries and carpets and the one called “mismido”, stretched and barely twisted, used for small rugs and under the horse’s saddle.
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The spinning is defined according to its composition. This may be 100% alpaca, llama, guanaco, or a mixture of sheep, cotton or different natural mixtures. We look for uniformity in fibres, colours, compositions, length and parallelism. In order to warp the textiles, the threads are manually placed in a way which forms the design. Once collocated on the loom the manual weaving begins. One by one knots are made with each thread (about 1,500 threads).
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For the weaving, the loom is placed in such a way according to the design wanted for the fabric that is being woven. The pressing is also done manually in order to eliminate any imperfections (missing threads, knots, etc.) until the textile is perfect, rolled up and ready for sale.

Design

We work within a holistic model.
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At animaná we make products under the principles of sustainability respecting the life cycle of the product using a cradle to cradle approach. This approach focuses on avoiding creation of waste and fragmented system of manufacturing and use, but instead enter everything in a regenerating cycle, considering the life cycle of the product not from cradle to grave but from cradle to cradle.
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Our commitment is for the long-term, through green manufacturing, the use of natural fibres, ancestral techniques, recycling and ecological use of materials. In this way, we promote sustainable design and care for the environment, making the smallest environmental impact possible. This is a rebirth of an ancient art with more than 5,000 years of history.
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The design of each product allows the raw materials to speak for themselves. We believe in recovering the savoir-faire of our ancestral techniques, while keeping contemporary design aesthetics in mind.
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Dominique Peclers, the founder of international consultancy Peclers Paris, has been collaborating with animaná since 2008. Committed to the project, she visited the Andes in 2010, where she met with communities, familiarizing herself with the animaná production process. Peclers also does assessments for animaná, offering her advice on the creation of the collection, contributing her invaluable knowledge.
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Want to know more? Don’t miss animana’s articles and find out more histories about Patagonia, Camelids, and Natural Fibers, animana’s name and much more.
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