Fuzzy Snowflake Alpaca Sweater from RedMaple Sportswear Co.
I love the RedMaple Sportswear Co. What a fabulous company, and they are owned by alpaca folks! RedMaple Sportswear is a Maine/NH seacoast based apparel company promoting the natural beauty & outdoor lifestyle enjoyed in their region. Though I’m a Southern gal, I adore the looks from this region, and how I love these sweaters for a chilly day! RedMaple’s focus is on natural fibers which provides eco-friendly alternatives to synthetics. They are a small, independent company with innovative specialty products not found in department stores.
Their Fall/Winter designs focus on the use of alpaca, which has been known for thousands of years as a noble fiber. Most of RedMaple’s staff members are actually involved in raising their own domestic alpaca breeding herds, so they have extensive knowledge of how best to use this amazing resource.
Alpaca fiber is naturally warm, strong, breathable & durable, luxuriously soft, and grows in over 20 natural colors. It is highly resilient for wrinkle-free packing. RedMaple uses 100% baby alpaca (a premium grade) & blends of alpaca with cotton, wool, or other natural fibers. Specialty products feature therapeutic copper, organic cotton, pima cotton, bamboo, & naturally colorgrown (undyed) fiber.
Women’s Eco Vest from Red Maple
Fascinated by an alpaca breeder turned sportswear king, I had to get some more scoop from David Stensland, the founder of RedMaple Sportswear. David worked in apparel design and manufacturing for over 20 years. He worked with small mom-and-pop brands as well as big name companies like J.Crew, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Jack Nicklaus Golf.
During his years in New York City, David got involved in the alpaca breeding community. Soon after that he left the corporate apparel world to work exclusively on alpaca design.
“RedMaple sprung from all those experiences once I moved in 2004 to my current home on the southern tip of the coast of Maine and wanted a brand to reflect the natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle we enjoy here in New England’s seacoast. It’s a classic, outdoorsy, casual, but sophisticated approach to looking good and feeling good that our fans react to regardless of where they live,” says David.
When asked about his alpaca herd, David told me that he began breeding and selling huacaya alpacas in 1998 with a focus on fine fibers in exotic colors like maroons, blacks, and greys. David has always boarded his alpacas with other breeders but did a lot of hands-on things like training and showing. In 2004 RedMaple began to take over most of David’s waking moments so his involvement in his alpacas has lessened a bit, but he still co-owns a herd of alpacas in New Hampshire.
It sounds like RedMaple’s socks are one of their best sellers. They like to say that they are “wear-tested on a real alpaca farm”. David says that alpaca breeders have amazingly high standards for socks. Alpaca breeders sell a lot of socks so they need to believe in them. “I think they are harder to to convince about a sock than a herdsire! But our socks typically become a favorite. We pay attention to comfort, easy care, heels that don’t wear out, etc….so they are a high value item that most anyone can afford and feel good about”.
David has been doing alpaca sweaters and accessories almost exclusively for almost half his career, so he’s learned a few things about how to use this incredible fiber to its best advantage, and in a way that’s both wearable and unique. David takes pride in the high level of taste reflected by his clothing. “It’s not enough to say, ‘Oh, it’s alpaca’ – the customer has to see it from across the room and instantly say, ‘OMG! I want that!” Then when they pick it up and say, ‘Wow. AND this is alpaca???”
RedMaple Sportswear is all about innovative design, the highest quality materials and construction along with outstanding customer service. I highly recommend that you shop with them this holiday season. As a special incentive for our readers, RedMaple is offering a drawing for a free alpaca accessory! To enter the drawing, enter the code “alpacafarmgirl” when you place any order in December. You can enter (and order) as many times as you like.
Alpaca Hat Giveaway
We are giving away this RedMaple alpaca Summit Beanie courtesy of David and our friends at RedMaple. This beanie is so cute, and extremely soft. You won’t believe how great this feels to your skin!
To enter, just visit the RedMaple Sportswear store, come back and leave a comment with your favorite item in their shop. For extra entries you can 1.) Blog about this giveaway, and 2.) Tweet about this giveaway. Max of one tweet daily. Leave a comment for each additional entry. (If you read this blog post on Facebook – you will need to click here and leave a comment on the main blog rather than on FB.) Winner will be chosen by random.org. Contest ends Saturday, December 19th at 10pm CST.