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The Softly Softly Approach

20.01.21

Abode2 caught up with Lulu Oliver of innovative brand Softly Softly to find out more about her company’s luxurious and stylish products made from the Alpaca fleece

Alpaca cloth is known as ‘The Fibre of the Gods’, what drew you to start using this unique fabric?

As soon as I started breeding Alpacas, I discovered the true quality of the fibre and the endless possibilities of what we could do and create with it.

Has your understanding of the material been informed by your success as an Alpaca breeder? 

Absolutely. Breeding Alpacas with the highest quality fleece is paramount to the success of the fabric. Every breeding decision taken is made with fleece quality in mind. We strive to achieve an optimum wool texture with each generation. The higher the quality of fibre means we have a much richer, more diverse choice in terms of fabric design and product range.

 

What’s your favourite part of the creative process and are there stages you wish you could skip?

I absolutely love it in the spring when we shear the Alpacas. As the weather gets warmer, it’s imperative that they are relieved of their thick fleeces that have grown over the cold winter months. It’s the first real moment that we can actually see what our breeding programme has achieved. Once I’ve assessed the true depth of colour and softness of each fleece, I can then start designing the  product range. My least favourite part of the process is having to remove all the flecks of grass and the leaves that get embedded in the fleece before it’s sent to the mill. It’s incredibly time consuming, especially with the baby fleeces that seem to pick up everything in the paddock!

Which product from the Softly Softly range could not live without and why?

Personally, I love the blanket wraps. They are so versatile. I use them as throws on the sofa, take them travelling (who really likes an airplane blanket?) and wear them as a warming wrap or a big pashmina. In the cold weather they’re a wardrobe staple, but even in the warmer months they’re great for just popping over your shoulders when the sun goes down. With such a diverse colour range, there’s always one that adds a little touch of luxury and style to whatever I am wearing.


What does the future have in store for Softly Softly?

The future looks very bright. With sustainability and environmental credentials becoming increasingly important to consumers, Alpaca products are becoming extremely popular. One of the seismic shifts as a result of the pandemic, is that people are reassessing their lifestyles and moving out of the city to the country. As Alpacas are easy to look after and delightful to own, their popularity is on the up. For Softly Softly, we have some really exciting projects in the pipeline this year. We have formed a partnership with a company that specialises in private plane and yacht interiors. Designing Alpaca fabrics for blankets, bedding and furnishings in these new sectors is an amazing opportunity. We are also planning to expand our baby range, using our exclusive ‘Alpaca-rose’ fibre.

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