The Pluma company – named after the Spanish word for “feather” – was founded in July 2014 by Patricia Rohde-Deutsch, a PR and Communication consultant resident in Munich. The company specializes in the design and manufacture of top quality traditional costume socks made of 100% baby alpaca wool. Each Pluma traditional costume sock bears a special, distinctive trademark – a small colored alpaca wool tassel, hand-stitched to the outside just below the cuff. These free-roaming animals have a small colored woolen tassel in their ear as an identifying feature – similar to the ear tag our cows have.
These costume sock designs are based on traditional alpine patterns. Each sock is hand-made and unique, made from 100% baby alpaca wool.
The men’s socks weigh 220 to 250 gram per pair – as much as a cashmere pullover. The toe and heel areas are reinforced to enhance the durability of the socks in these stressed areas. The toes are hand-linked.
The softness of alpaca wool earned it the epithet “fiber of the gods”. It is a very valuable product which offers protection against wind, wetness, extreme heat and cold, worn in Peru throughout the seasons.
Baby alpaca wool counts among the highest quality natural fibers, comparable with cashmere and silk. It is obtained mainly from the undercoat of the alpaca, lying close to the body, hand sorted after shearing into the various qualities by experienced women in cooperatives. Alpaca yarn is more durable than merino wool or other yarns.
The first Pluma costume sock range for men has been available in the trendy colors of aubergine, cherry and terracotta at selected specialist retailers since August 2014, complemented with traditional colors such as natural, taupe, stone, anthracite, leaf green and blue. The first ladies collection in selected colors was successfully introduced in 2015.
South America has about 3.5 to 4 million Alpacas, 80% of which will be found in the South of Peru.
The animals are bred at altitudes of 3,500 to 4,000 meters and may experience temperature fluctuations from -20 to +30°C in a single day. One animal produces about 3 kg of wool per year and will be shorn only once a year – a merino sheep by comparison may produce 4 to 10 kg of wool per year.
The woolen products are worn in Peru all year round and are highly valued for their snug wearing comfort and thermal protection. Not only is baby alpaca wool particularly soft, it is also very skin-friendly and its wearing comfort rivals that of cashmere.
We have visited the high altitude alpaca wool production facilities in the Peruvian mountains and were satisfied by the working conditions in the factories and by the quality of the wool. The experience and skills in working with alpaca wool, gained over many generations, persuaded us to have our Pluma costume socks manufactured in Peru.
More than twenty sample pairs of socks of various qualities and designs were knitted before our high demand on quality was finally satisfied and the proper design was found for the first pair of Pluma costume socks.
The founder of Pluma, Patricia Rohde-Deutsch, has been engaged in public relations for consumer and lifestyle goods and in telecommunications for over 15 years. During this period she also worked for globally active German textile firms and knitting factories for many years. She was in a position to apply this valuable experience to the design and production of Pluma socks.