In the vicuña’s natural habitat of South America, its fleece is called the “fibre of the gods”. The Inca civilisation, which began around 1200 A.D., reserved vicuña fabrics exclusively for its kings and the seasonal sheering was a ceremony involving the whole community. However, following the Spanish colonisation of South America from the end of the 1400s, the vicuña was hunted so intensively that by 1965 the entire population was reduced to only 5,000.
In the past, Ermenegildo Zegna Group has worked with the International Vicuña Consortium, alongside the Peruvian government, to protect this rare animal. The Consortium was granted the honour of returning the fibre to the market by supporting local communities who legally count on revenues derived protecting the animals from poaching. Thanks to previous philanthropic efforts of the Group, which also included the development of water facilities for Vicuña breeders and their livestock, the species has been saved from extinction.

Our World in Textiles