Knit with ultrasoft, naturally insulating llama fiber, the Libre is engineered for the city, the summit, and everything in between.
About this project
Made in Bolivia with llama fiber, the Libre Sweater is our answer to the garment that doesn’t exist any more—a beautiful, rugged knit engineered to be put through the wringer, day after day. It keeps you comfortable, invites you to push yourself, and maintains that classic, heritage-inspired look, wherever you happen to roam.
We started with a tailored, unisex silhouette for the Libre, and then added raglan sleeves for enhanced mobility. In other words, no restriction while reaching for a climbing hold, zero bunching while stretched out over the handlebars, and no pull while lifting the coffee mug. For the front panel and arms, we’ve employed a buttery-soft, midweight llama knit for year-round wear. We engineered an innovative, breathable knit mesh for the back panel, helping to regulate body temperature by releasing excess heat and moisture vapor. Say goodbye to sweaty back syndrome. Additionally, we beefed up the ribbing on the neck, cuffs, and hem to eliminate the dreadful stretching and sagging that plagues most woolen tops. We then rounded out the design by adding double-reinforced seams throughout to ensure it stands up the loads of use and abuse we encourage you to dish out.
The Libre pays homage to the early wool-wearing boundary pushers—vikings, sailors, climbers, alpinists, skiers, writers, and other trailblazers who did things their way. After all, the wool sweater is one of the original technical midlayers, and we recognize it as a symbol of freedom that invites, and challenges, us to push ourselves to do things our way.
The story starts with the llama—that noble, dependable pack animal that’s been providing a way of life for people in the Bolivian Andes for thousands of years. Llamas are adapted to this high plains region, where 50-degree temperature swings can occur daily, and their hollow hair serves as the perfect form of natural insulation. It’s proven to effectively trap warm air, insulate when wet, create a natural wind block, in addition to being naturally hypoallergenic, elastic, strong, and soft to the touch. This made it the perfect choice for the foundation of our Libre project.
Additionally, llama fiber is sourced with minimal effects on the environment or the animal itself, and the sale of llama fiber acts as the primary source of income for many families in the Andes. We’re working closely with these farmers and manufacturers to develop a supply chain that focuses on the animals’ well-being, improves people’s lives, and minimizes our impact on the environment. Members of our team regularly visit suppliers to ensure that we’re creating a lasting, positive impact on communities in the region by responsibly sourcing the fiber that goes into our products.
We’ve partnered with Altifibers in Bolivia for our fiber, which is one of the few companies in the world that’s developed an innovative dehairing process to separate coarse llama hair from fine hair. It’s based on the same principles used for dehairing cashmere, yielding the finest LlamaSoft® fibers possible for its “Cashllama,” or “Cashmere of the Andes.” This fiber is then knitted to our specs at Altifibers’ sister company, Altiknits, to create the highly insulating, comfortable, and durable Libre sweater.
By working with its sister company, Altifibers, Altiknits’ clients are guaranteed a transparent value chain that starts with the process of fiber recollection from neighboring provinces. Transparency and camaraderie stand at the center of the company, with a group of employees that has grown into a family within a superb working environment and excellent working conditions.
Altiknits proudly holds social and environmental sustainability as the company’s core values. Its strong commitment to social responsibility is evident throughout the company’s practices and production processes:
- It is WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) certified.
- All workers receive health and retirement benefits, paid vacation, and double pay for overtime.
- It provides food subsidies to factory workers.
- Ergonomic chairs for all of its workers.
- Close to 80% of its workforce are women; many of whom are the sole providers of their households.
- Preservation of Bolivia’s strong heritage of knitting by providing job opportunities through this trade.
- The use fiber dyes with low environmental impact.
- A water treatment plant has been mounted by its sister company and yarn provider to treat the production’s water residues.
- Low-carbon emissions through the use of natural gas as our main source for heating.
- The use of biodegradable plastic bags for shipping.
All our products are Guaranteed For Good. Your product is guaranteed to last 61 years, the average lifespan of a person living in the developing world.
If your product does not meet your expectations in any way, we’ll work with you to resolve the issue, whether that means returning the item for repair, replacing or exchanging it, or refunding your purchase.
Davis Smith is a member of the UN Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurs Council. He was previously the Co-CEO of Baby.com.br, Brazil’s startup of the year in 2012. He is a graduate of Brigham Young University (BA), the University of Pennsylvania’s Lauder Institute (MA) and Wharton School (MBA). Davis is a lover of the outdoors and recently lead a team on the first successful crossing from Cuba to Florida via kayak.
Prior to joining Cotopaxi, Cheri designed technical apparel for top brands across the outdoor industry, such as Marmot, Columbia Sportswear and Dakine. She’s also a patent-holding shoe designer with designs at Nike ID and Ariat. Growing up on a sunny California farm, she fell in love with the outdoors. Today, she gets her fix skiing Utah’s famous snow, hiking with her dog Ned, or looking for the next wave on her kiteboard. Cheri holds a BA in Product Design and Development from San Francisco State University.
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Risks and challenges
The Libre sweater is in production and on track for holiday delivery. We’re aware that things come up and obstacles can occur, but are confident in delivering your sweater. Just as we share our impact with the Cotopaxi community to ensure transparency and accountability, we’ll keep you posted with any updates we receive. Thank you for your support and helping us make a positive impact on the world.