Samantha Holmes founded her label in Scotland in 2003 as a boutique lifestyle brand, now renowned for its exclusive, handcrafted clothing and home textiles made from luxuriously soft natural fibres.
Each product is designed in Scotland and beautifully made by skilled artisans in Peru using the brand’s signature yarns made from Baby Alpaca and Bamboo.
Understated, versatile and timeless, the Samantha Holmes collection of classic scarves and shawls, flattering cardigans, home textiles, luxury gifts and baby-wear is aimed at a discerning clientele. It is on sale at up-scale independent boutiques and top stores such as Fortnum and Mason.
In her collections, Samantha has moved away from the traditional, rustic ethnic designs associated with South American crafts, concentrating instead on classic, beautiful, creative designs with more fashionable appeal.
Samantha developed her interest in luxury fabrics more than a decade ago, while working for an international company importing cashmere from Nepal. This led her to Alpaca which, although less well known than cashmere, is equally beautiful. Buttery soft and with no lanolin content, Alpaca is also ideally suited to sensitive skins.
Samantha first travelled to Peru 10 years ago to find the small artisan groups who have helped her produce her exclusive collections. Now working with a network of some 500 hand-knitters, she visits them each year to ensure that they are fairly remunerated and work in good conditions. The brand is currently awaiting certification of their Fair Trade status at the end of this year.
The Alpaca fur used in Samantha Holmes’ products is ethically sourced. The Alpacas from which the skins are removed are not killed for their fur.
There is a tradition in Peru which has developed as a result of the death of weaker and very young Alpaca in the harsh Andean Winters. Alpaca roam freely in their natural terrain on the Altiplano of the Andes where temperatures can plummet in the Winter. The fur Samantha Holmes sources is mainly from baby Alpacas - or “cria” - which have died of natural causes.
The farmers do not kill their baby alpacas for their skins because it is not financially viable for them to do so. The skins are tiny. Alpacas can live for 20 years, promising a lifetime of shearing potential of far greater value than a single skin.