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Camel Hair: The International Year of the Camelids 2024

Camel Hair, the first fibre we are showcasing in the International year of the Camelids, it is either gathered, shorn, or combed from the domestic Bactrian Camel, 2 humps are better than 1!

 

Known for travelling the silk-road trading routes, the Bactrian camel is native to Central Asia. They thrive in the arid grasslands and the Gobi desert, where they are more than at home in temperatures as low as – 30 degrees C and as high as 50 degrees C. This is due their extremely versatile hair, which is a mixture of the coarse, protective guard hair, 32-38mic, and the soft inner hair, 19-24mic which keeps the camels protected from the harsh winter temperatures.

 

 

Camel HairCamel has traditionally been used for thousands of years, even being mentioned in the bible, mainly for floor coverings, tents and coats. In the modern era, camel hair has become a must-have in a collection and has proved to be one of the most versatile of natural fibres.

 

Once the camel hair has been collected, it goes through a rigorous carding process called dehairing. This is where the long, coarse guard hair is separated from the short, fine inner hair. By passing over a series of rollers with fine needles, the soft, fine hair sticks to the rollers and the guard “drops out” This is collected and kept separate for the fine hair.

 

Once the fine dehaired camel hair is separated, it is spun into a woollen yarn, either on its own, or blended with other natural fibres, such as wool or cashmere. These yarns are then woven into luxurious cloth which is used for jackets, coats, and blankets. Typically, camel is kept as its original distinctive “camel” colour. However, there is a very limited amount of natural white camel hair, which looks very much like cashmere.

 

The coarser hair is used in a wide variety of applications, from mattress pads, to duvets, and the interlining of suits. The Manes, which grows in the winter months, is coarser and has a reddish colour, this is also used in the bedding and interlining industries, but is also for craft applications, like Halloween masks, and the carpet industry.

 

Camel hair truly is one of the most versatile natural fibres, and a testament to the amazing Bactrian camels that we have to thank for it.

 

The next fibre showcase will be Vicuña in July.

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SFA Cashmere Standard

What is the SFA Cashmere Standard?

 

SFA Cashmere Standard

Seal International are proudly certified to the Sustainable Fibre Alliance, SFA Cashmere Standard. This certification signifies a commitment to responsible, and sustainable practices throughout our production of cashmere, and the farmers that rear the goats.

This certification ensures that the cashmere is sourced from farms that prioritise animal welfare, environmental conservation, and the well-being of local communities. The SFA Cashmere Standard focuses on promoting sustainable grazing practices to prevent land degradation, ensuring that the delicate ecosystems where cashmere goats graze are preserved for future generations.

 

Additionally, the standard emphasises the ethical treatment of the goats, ensuring they are provided with proper care, nutrition, and living conditions. By adhering to the SFA Cashmere Standard, producers demonstrate their dedication to transparency, traceability, and social responsibility, providing consumers with assurance that they are purchasing cashmere that has been reared in an environmentally and socially conscious manner.

 

Why is being SFA Cashmere Standard certified important?

 

Being SFA (Sustainable Fibre Alliance) certified is important for several reasons:

 

  1. Environmental Sustainability

The SFA certification ensure that the production of cashmere adheres to sustainable grazing practices. This helps prevent overgrazing, soil erosion, and degradation of the land, preserving ecosystems and biodiversity.

 

  1. Animal Welfare

The SFA standard prioritises the ethical treatment and welfare of cashmere goats, ensuring that they are provided with appropriate care, nutrition, and living conditions, promoting their health and well-being.

 

  1. Traceability and Transparency

The SFA certification provides a transparent and traceable supply chain, this allows customers to have confidence in the origin of the cashmere they purchase. This promotes accountability and trust.

 

  1. Social Responsibility

The SFA standard emphasises fair labour practices and the well-being of local communities. It encourages producers to engage with and support local communities, promoting economic development and social equity.

 

  1. Customer Confidence

Being SFA certified enhances our reputation and credibility, assuring customers that the cashmere they buy is environmentally sustainable and ethically responsible.

 

The SFA certification plays a vital role in promoting responsible and sustainable practices throughout the cashmere supply chain, benefiting the environment, animals, producers, and consumers alike.

 

Please feel free to contact us if you would like to find out more.

 

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The International Year of the Camelids 2024

The International Year of Camelids 2024 is an opportunity to honour and champion the remarkable animals, herders, communities and most importantly for us the fibres collected from Camels, Alpacas, Llamas, Vicuñas, and Guanacos.

 

Objective

The objective of the 2024 International Year of Camelids is to raise awareness about the overlooked capabilities of the amazing camelids and to encourage greater investment in this sector. This involves advocating for more research, enhancing capacity development, and embracing innovative practices and technologies to ensure the success of the genus for many generations to come.

 

Our Role

Camelid fibres, play a pivotal role in our business here at Seal International. These fibres are meticulously collected globally and processed to create high-quality products catering to the demands of discerning customers worldwide.

 

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How, and where are they used?

Camelid fibres demonstrate exceptional adaptability, serving as a testament to their versatility in various industries across textiles. These fibres, sourced from alpacas, llamas, vicuñas, guanacos, and camels, offer a wide range of applications across different sectors. From textiles and apparel, including knitwear, suiting, and coating, to home furnishings such as bedding, curtains, and upholstery, and are also used in the construction of mattresses.

 

This versatility is rarely seen and championed, here at Seal International we hope to change that, and we are embracing the UN year of the camelids. We hope to raise the profile of this magnificent fibre to ensure the economic stability of the supply chain all the way back to the herders. We recognise that, apart from the hair from the animals, people are our most valuable asset ensuring that we carry out our operations in a manner that safeguards their health, welfare and safety. We remain committed to ensuring the quality of life and good health of both the Animals and their human custodians.

 

Sustainability

Camelids are sustainably farmed in deserts and the Andes mountains; our camelids are left to roam freely and are cared for using age-old traditional herding and farming methods.  The livelihoods of many communities around the world depend on camelid products and services. Serving as essential working companions, they provide invaluable support to indigenous peoples and local communities. This ranges across the Andean highlands of South America, as well as in the deserts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Recognition, advocacy, and support for promoting their products and services are essential for sustaining community livelihoods and nurturing sustainable employment opportunities and equality in often economically deprived areas.

 

We remain fully dedicated to continuing our support indigenous peoples and communities in their endeavours with camelids.

 

Our Fibres

Over the year we will be showcasing each fibre, highlighting its characteristics, merits, how it is processed, and their end uses. First up will be Camel coming in May. Followed by the prestigious Vicuña in July, Alpaca in September and rounding the UN International year of the camelids off with Guanaco in December.

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South Africa visit and Mohair Fibre Cape Sale

Last month, some of the Seal International fibre team travelled to Port Elizabeth in South Africa, to meet with our exclusive buyer who is based in Port Elizabeth and attend the mohair fibre cape sale in March.

 

Our global reputation for reliability and availability doesn’t only come from being one of the world’s largest stockholders of noble fibres, it also comes from our company ethos and how we develop partnerships with suppliers as well as customers.

 

We ensure we source the best quality products from the most trusted suppliers & origins. Our trip to South Africa was another fantastic opportunity to dive into the appraising process in the mohair fibre stores & implement our solid buying strategies for the season with Alice, as our contact on the ground.

 

We met with Alice, the week before the auction, where we began our preparation for the auction by visiting ‘House of Fibre’ mohair stores. Our first job is to analyse the mohair fibre catalogue and view the bales of mohair which are lined up in number order, ready for appraising. We visually assess the length, yield & micron of the fibre in each of the bales/bins at the stores, and select the mohair fibre we are interested to purchase which is Responsible Mohair Standard (RMS) mohair. This preparation can be done up until the day before the auction begins.

 

On the day of the auction, we met again with Alice and headed for a full day of buying at the cape mohair sale. The auction room was full, with buyers from other companies, there was an air of excitement & tension in the room as the Seal International team was present for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic. And the open cry bidding commenced.

 

After a successful day of buying, we met for a debrief with our newest team member Laverne who is handling our logistics as well as the transaction certificates as part of the RMS mohair auditing procedure.

 

Following the debrief meeting we update our market quote prices for our customers to work from.

 

The greasy mohair lots which we purchase at the sale are then booked in our system for processing. Some of which are done in the cape & some are done in the UK at our own mill.

 

It was a great trip and wonderful to meet with Alice & Laverne & we look forward to seeing them soon at the Basuto sale on June 13th.

 

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Natural Fibre Connect Conference 2022

Join the conference at Natural Fibre Connect 2022

 

We’d like to announce we are Gold sponsors of the inaugural Natural Fibre Connect conference, this is a unique virtual conference connecting all those involved within animal fibres to discuss and learn more about wool, cashmere, mohair and alpaca.

 

ALPACA_FIBRE              MOHAIR_FIBRE             WOOL_FIBRE              CASHMERE_FIBRE

 

What is Natural Fibre Connect?

Natural Fibre Connect is a virtual exhibition which occurs over three days, these well-considered days will comprise expert speakers, recorded talks, and roundtable discussions from industry professionals to highlight and understand the perspective of growers and herders globally.

In turn, their aim is to tackle challenges which arise within the natural fibre industries and emphasise the perspective of growers and herders around the world as climate change and market fluctuations continue to grow.

 

Where, and When is Natural Fibre Connect?

NFC takes place from 7th – 9th September 2022, it is the first virtual event encompassing a range of natural fibres. There’s no need to leave your desk, or book flights, simply reserve your ticket, and join us to connect and discuss with out team about natural fibres.

 

What are the top discussions not be missed?

This three-day event will be filled with discussions from industry leaders, conferences which are on our ‘must watch’ list are:

 

07/09/22 – Day One

  1. Welcome to NFC Day 1: Emerging Trends (8:00AM – 8:10AM GMT +01:00)
  2. The Opportunities of Web 3.0 for the Textile Industry (9:50AM – 10:55AM GMT +01:00)
  3. Shifting Times (3:10PM – 3:40PM GMT +01:00)
  4. Roundtable Discussions Open (6:00PM – 8:00PM GMT +01:00)

 

08/09/22 – Day Two 

  1. Welcome to NFC Day 2: Challenges (8:00AM – 8:10AM GMT +01:00)
  2. The Realities of Animal Welfare – The Challenges Growers and Herders Face (8:10AM – 8:40AM GMT +01:00)
  3. Roundtable Discussions Open (11:00AM – 1:00PM GMT +01:00)

 

 09/09/22 – Day Three

  1. Welcome to NFC Day 3: Innovations (8:00AM – 8:10AM GMT +01:00)
  2. PANEL: Hearing Directly from Growers and Herders (3:40PM – 4:40PM GMT +01:00)
  3. Roundtable Discussions Open (6:00PM – 8:00PM GMT +01:00)

 

We welcome you to join our discussion and look forward to meeting you there. Reserve your ticket today by clicking here.

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