Contributed by Annabelle King:

Recently awarded Best Accessories 2012 in the Junior Magazine Design Awards for their Knotty Dotty hats, local west London clothing company Alpaca Pie has now launched a range of adorable calico summer dresses, smock tops and matching sun hats, embroidered with unique Peruvian designs.  All the collection is made by hand, fair trade and ‘made with love in Peru’ supporting a small family enterprise in an area of high unemployment.

Alpaca Pie is best known for its classic yet quirky knitwear that adorns many a little London boy.  Indeed founder Kathleen Holland is regularly stopped in the park by fathers demanding to know where her boys’ cool knitwear is from.  “It’s often the Dads that stop to ask me..” she says.   In response to this she’s now designing a ‘mini-me’ range for fathers.

Peruvian born Kathleen set up her clothing company two years ago from her home in Shepherds Bush after an exhaustive search to find stylish yet practical knitwear for her children.  Growing up she was surrounded by the rich natural colours of the intricate Peruvian textile arts which captured her imagination and inspired her designs.  But it was her discovery of the ‘super-hero’ of natural fibres – alpaca – that led her to design her first collection.  With three very energetic children, practical, natural and fun but of good quality were key requirements for her designs.  “You can’t let kids climb trees or go for muddy bike rides in cashmere” says Holland.   Durability was also essential so that you could hand down to the next child without too much wear and tear.

Alpaca is surprisingly luxurious, indeed it has the buttery feel of fine cashmere but with far more durability.  It does not pill or ball, unlike many natural wool products on the market today.  It’s hollow fibre gives it excellent insulating qualities and makes it breathable – great for hot children at play.  And perhaps most importantly, its smooth fibres don’t hold the dirt like most woolies, hence it stays clean for longer – perfect for mud and spills.

For more information on Alpaca Pie, please visit:

www.alpacapie.co.uk

 This posting was contributed by Annabelle King who lives in Shepherds Bush.  After a crazy ten year career in advertising, she gave it all up to be bossed about by her three little girls. Her blog The Bush Babies was started in 2007, where she writes about the highs and lows of parenthood and raising three little girls in London.

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