Know Your Fibers
Musk Ox is neither a floor wax nor a dessert topping but rather a very strong and pricey yarn the Inuit call quivet. It's soft, warm and impervious to water and shrinkage.
Alpaca is the wool from the alpaca, an animal similar to but smaller and softer than the llama. The fine undercoat makes thick, woolly sweaters, while the coarser hair is used for carpets and stuffed animals that mostly resemble alpacas.
Leather is a byproduct of meat consumption and therefore, totally acceptable for people who eat steak (not so much for the salad-eaters). Tanned and dyed using aniline and other things you shouldn't swallow, it turns into terrific apparel and footwear that can fringed, embossed or chapped in every color of the rainbow.
Beaver hide comes from that familiar, aquatic member of the order Rodentia. Beaver fur is powder-soft with a deep pile and tremendous insulating power.
Hemp gets a reputation for being a stoner fashion statement, but au contraire…it's used to make baby stuff and, dude, babies can't be stoners. It's quick growing, strong and produces more fiber than cotton. Hemp clothing does not contain THC, the chemical that makes you high-so stop gnawing on your sleeve and roll a doob like everyone else.
Mohair comes from the angora goat, which originated in the Ankara region of Turkey. Kid mohair is the soft stuff from young goats. Mohair from older, bitter goats are still useful for carpet and upholstery or for rating Jell-O consumption at Furr's cafeteria.
Bamboo is the latest in renewable-resource fabrics. Microscopically, the fiber is round, which is better for ventilation and moisture absorption. It's also known to be an anti-bacterial, so it's an excellent fiber for workout wear.
Recycled plastic is drawn from post-consumer waste, which is shredded, melted and spun into thin plastic fibers that are then turned into funky hats.
Cashmere comes from goats and is considered to be the finest in the wool world. It is gathered by combing or shearing the goats by hand-that's why it's so expensive.
Silk is produced by an amazing orgy of silkworms, writhing, twisting and creating in the world's tiniest sweatshop. Silk is naturally the strongest protein fiber unless it gets wet-then it loses some resiliency.
Musk Ox Love***image1***
This adorable ochre scarf ($250) is knitted from the finest fibers the musk ox has to offer. Don't be fooled by the delicate lace pattern and garter stitch edge-this cutie holds its own against a herd of winter accessories.
Miriam's Well, 614 Paseo de Peralta, 982-6312.
A Legal Bolivian Export***image2***
Bolivian alpaca hats ($22) and mittens ($16) are a sustainable staple of the winter wardrobe. All of these cheerful accessories are acceptable ways to love the alpaca.
De Colores Imports, 114½ Old Santa Fe Trail, 820-6970.
It's Leather Weather!***image3***
This machine washable yellow leather coat ($610) from MODA Show is lined in a medium-weight biased silk. The thread-y seams are reversed and racer stripes drop down each arm. Other details include brass studs and a kick-ass motorcycle collar.
Santa Fe Weaving Gallery, 124½ Galisteo St., 982-1737.
Thanks, I Just Had it Stuffed***image4***
Shorn beaver fur feels like powdered sugar, especially when crafted into a plush vest with a super furry fox collar ($1,295). You'll be the most stylish lady in the lodge.
Overland Sheepskin Co., 74 E. San Francisco St., 986-0757.
Get busted wearing this hemp Cozy Jacket by ecolution ($98). Available in the goes-with-everything colors: natural, acorn and obsidian-or if you're too stoned to figure that out: vanilla ice cream, Snickers and resin.
Santa Fe Hemp, 105 E. Water St., 984-2599.
Poncho de Leon***image6***
This Dolce & Gabbana mohair poncho ($635) is so adorable, we'd wear it every day! Fuschia, green and gray yarns are woven into a snazzy plaid with a funnel collar and cuffs. Topping off this runway look are gold studs and kangaroo pockets (no kangaroos were harmed while making this fashion statement).
Dust in the Wind, 131 E. Palace Ave., 986-1155.
Don't limit these yoga clothes to the usual workout. Earthy colored soy and bamboo fibers make this pleated, scoop-neck tee from TranquiliT ($78)
perfect for layering or après ski lounging.
Body, 333 Cordova Road, 986-0362.
What? Fleece made from recycled plastic bottles?! Cagoule's supersoft fleece hats, scarves, ear bands and neck gaiters ($10 and up), are all made from 85 percent recycled plastic bottles. They'll keep you toasty and make you feel warm and fuzzy about saving the planet.
Whole Foods Market, 753 Cerrillos Road, 992-1700.
The next time you tickle a goat under the chin, grab a few extra hairs. That's cashmere! Then again, anyone swaddling a baby in this cashmere receiving blanket ($170) probably pays other people to tickle goats for them.
Gypsy Baby, 318 S. Guadalupe St., 820-1898.
Silk sweaters by Barry Bricken ($135 and up) are a fave for women who love the glossy texture and polished drape of a fine garment-and for those who support the caterpillar work union. Check out Harry's selection of cable knits, twin sets, crewnecks, turtlenecks and cardigans.
Harry's, 328 Sandoval St., 820-7624.