Bufandy is an independent fashion label with a mission to deliver beautiful and timeless products (mostly scarfs), made with respect for the environment and people.
Our collection is the result of a close cooperation between Peruvian alpaca farming, Ecuadorian craftsmanship and Dutch design. We use high quality materials and choose good craftsmanship in order to develop long-lasting products that everybody can be proud of, both producer and user.
High up in the Andean mountains where nights are cold and vegetation scarce, this is where Alpacas feel at home. These animals are closely related to Llama and Vicuna and have been domesticated since thousands of years for their incredible warm and soft wool. Therefore Alpacas are an important part of indigenous culture, especially in Peru where half of the global Alpaca population can be found.
Perfectly adapted to cold and harsh winters in high altitude areas, the alpaca has a warm fur with a naturally insulating core. This insulating property makes the fiber extremely lightweight and suitable for both summer and winter garments.
And one reason why Bufandy scarfs are so warm and soft.
When we started with Bufandy in 2013, little did we know about fibers, weaving technics, washing or how to keep an Alpaca happy.
It all began with contacts to weavers in Ecuador with who we started to work together. From there we started asking where the yarn is coming from which led us to a small spinning company.
These guys then send us to Peru to a wool supplier where we met the rest of the process including fiber washing and the nice ladies separating by hand the different fiber qualities.
From here it was a bumpy trip high into the mountains to the remote Alpaca farmers to complete the circle.
The whole journey took almost 5 years but we are so happy to know everyone and every place involved in the production of a Bufandy scarf.
Alpacas are amazing because they are gifting us with this amazing soft and warm wool. But there is more to it (warning: science stuff!):
Alpacas leave a much smaller ecological footprint than other livestock raised for natural fibers such as sheep and goats. This specifically applies to alpaca herds in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Living at high altitude (about 3.800 meters above sea level) the water the alpacas are sustained with is a naturally occurring resource. Another advantage of these higher altitudes is that wool production is not in competition with agriculture or other livestock farming, since agriculture is not possible or just to a very small degree. This means no land is taken that could be used for other purposes which is the case in other wool producing countries
Alpacas are also gentle eaters. The grasses that they feed on are not ripped out at the root as they graze pastures, giving the plant life a chance to grow back to be fed on again. Furthermore, in comparison to other natural fiber-producing animals, alpacas consume less food per animal weight and have a different metabolism. This has another important direct impact: the Methane emission (one of the crucial gases responsible for global warming) is 44% lower in comparison to other livestock like sheep.
Also, due to its low grease content, the washing process for alpaca fiber is less extensive than with other animal fibers, saving more water and energy.
And that is why we think the Alpaca is just the best! (sorry sheep…)
Bufandy believes in the power of family and small businesses using traditional crafts.
We aspire to further social and economic progression by uniting cultures. We aim to work with small-scale family businesses that have limited access to international markets.
We strive to purely offer products that everybody can be proud of, both creator and wearer.
No it doesn't itch!
You’ve been told that alpaca does not itch or prick like sheep wool? A true story!
In contrast to sheep wool that often itches the skin due to its coarse fiber, alpaca has a much softer fiber and does not contain lanolin. Alpaca is therefore naturally hypoallergenic.
Days are bustling in the manufacturing site of Fabian. The largest space has various weaving machines running on full speed. Weavers, traditionally a male occupation in Ecuador, refill the shuttles manually with new wool to keep the machines running.
While the men are mostly found around the heavy machines, the women are in the building next door. They tailor, card and iron the material, while Kury and Isai, the smallest members of Fabians family, play around the house.
The products made by Fabian and his team are sold at the local market. Since 2013 Bufandy has started importing a considerable part of their production. So by purchasing a Bufandy alpaca product, you do not only get a warm and soft shawl, you also support Fabians team and their families in Ecuador.
The story of Bufandy is the journey of tour guide Dorien Straathof, wandering a little off the beaten track.
"As a tour guide I'm often in close contact with locals and their traditional culture. At one of the highland markets in the South American Andes, I was deeply impressed by the colorful fabrics produced by Indigenous craftsmen. The products were often handmade by small family businesses using age-old techniques.
Not only the bright colors and the great variety of ethnic patterns catch my eye, I also discover the softest material I've ever touched: alpaca wool. And that is the moment the idea for Bufandy originated. Born from a personal interest for craft and culture, I wanted to encourage and help the local craftsmen to make more out of their talent.
We partnered with one of the local artisans, Fabian, and together we produced Bufany's first collection. A collection that reflects both ethnicity and modernity. And we named it after Fabian, the proud maker. Since then we have been joining forces with over 20 craftsmen, mostly weavers and hatters. With each of them we strive to build long-term responsible partnerships.
For the future we hope to discover more unique products and their talented makers in the Andes range, and to help them presenting their traditional products to a larger audience.
Join us in our journey and keep following us."
Dorien, Founder Bufandy
Bufandy strives to produce all items with natural and sustainable materials. Both the sourcing and blending of our materials we see as a journey with no end. There is always space to do better. We see it as an ongoing process and step by step will implement sustainable solutions that have a bigger impact than our former ones.
Maybe you had like us a grandma who loved knitting and you also got self-knitted socks, scarfs, pullovers and beanies as a kid for Christmas. Back then I really did not like them because it felt so itchy (sorry granny).
Since that time I was hesitant of wool as a baselayer, because the itchy feeling makes it uncomfortable. Only in Ecuador we learned that wool is not the same as wool. Especially sheep and Alpaca. Even further that there are different wool types and qualities on different body types of the same animal.
And in contrast to sheep wool, Alpaca fiber is much softer and does not contain lanolin with the nice side effect that it is naturally hypoallergenic.
To make the Bufandy scarfs even more soft, the fibers are broken open at the end of the weaving process by brushing them. This makes the scarfs especially soft and just amazing to feel on your skin.
You are going to love it! (my grandma does!)
If you are at this stage still reading into Bufandy, you must be really interested in our scarfs.
Why not hop over to the shop and have a look!
Alpaca Shawls Care Instructions:
Okay we admit it is a bit of work if you want to keep its extreme fluffiness and softness. But here’s what you do:
Hand wash or delicate machine wash up to 30 degrees. Air-dry or tumble dry shortly at low setting to maintain its maximum airiness.
Dry clean is also a recommended option.
Last tasks for perfection: Use a light brush and brush in the direction of the alpaca fiber. Iron at low temperature (max 110 degrees) in the same direction.
There is no better place to have a photoshoot than at the source where our scarfs are made: In the mountains of Ecuador. Together with Gabi van Ingen and Tom van Oijen we made it happen. But watch yourself:
With eye for people and planet, Bufandy aims to deliver responsible designs with quality and a long life span. This is a journey. And by continuously listening to and interacting with our suppliers, our customers, like-minded brands and specialist in the field, we aim to make conscious decisions towards a 100% sustainable product. We keep making continuous improvements to lower our environmental impact and positively increase our social impact.
And of course beautiful scarfs.
Our shawls are made of a blend with 80% alpaca and 20% acrylic. The reason for adding acrylic to our blend is two-fold:
Due to its specific production process with rough brushing and carding, Bufandy’s woven textiles are challenged more on their strength and durability compared to other woven products. This gives Bufandy it’s special ‘fluffy’ look and feel. In order to strengthen the yarn we’ve added 20% acrylic to its composition.
Furthermore, the lengthier acrylic ‘synthetic fibers’ also assist the items to shed less with usage, making it more durable. Both factors lead to an increased average lifespan of each product, following Bufandy’s mission to design quality wardrobe centerpieces that last long.