Owner of brands like Ann Taylor and LOFT, Ascena Retail Group plans to stop using wool from the llama-like creatures amid concerns from animal-rights activists about the sometimes brutal process of producing it.
Ascena’s brands currently sell several sweaters made with fabric blends that include alpaca. But the New Jersey-based company said it’s decided to “fully eliminate” the famously soft fiber from its product lines after the winter 2020 season.
Ascena was among dozens of major retailers that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals urged to ditch the fabric after publishing grisly findings from its undercover investigation of Mallkini, the world’s largest privately owned alpaca farm.
Footage from the Peruvian farm showed workers forcing a screaming alpaca’s legs into a device that PETA likened to a “medieval torture rack” so they could shave the wool off its belly. The group also captured a worker standing on an alpaca’s neck and others crudely stitching up wounds the animals suffered while they were shorn.
Besides Ascena other big fashion firms such as Uniqlo, Valentino and Columbia Sportswear have also banned alpaca wool from their collections.