Alpaca wool is an opportunity for the Peruvian fashion industry and is one of the main attractions at the Peru Moda-Deco trade fair, where officials celebrated a 15% increase in exports between January and August 2022.
According to data showed to Efe on Thursday by the president of the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Export and Tourism (PromPeru), Amora Carbajal, exports of alpaca wool textiles exceeded $123 million in the first eight months of 2022.
Sweaters and accessories are the most exported final products, with the United States being the most important market, buying 41 million dollars (36% increase compared to 2021).
China is second with 39 million dollars (+128%) and Italy third with 34 million dollars (+88%).
The alpaca, as the Peruvian fashion designer Gisella Gonsales points out, is Peruvian fashion’s “flagship product” and, at the same time, is part of the Peruvian “ancestral heritage” as it is present even in cave paintings made thousands of years ago.
The animal, fully integrated in the Andean worldview, offers fibers with “very interesting properties,” according to the president of PromPeru, who described the textile as “kind” and “generous” as it is suitable for both winter and summer.
Gisella highlighted the “versatility” of alpaca wool, useful for thick or light, classic or modern garments, and Peruvian designer José Miguel Valdivia prefers to praise its “high level of fiber quality.”
A FABRIC WITH “A THOUSAND WAYS”
Valdivia also highlights alpaca’s capacity to surprise, with which he says he has worked “in a thousand ways,” from woven garments to working with its leather.
In spite of the characteristics that they all emphasize, the designers agree that it is still a product that has yet to reach many markets, especially in Europe.
This is partly due, as Carbajal said, to the fact that 80% of alpacas are bred in Peru.
Italian buyer Laura Lupi said that the product is gradually gaining relevance in the European market because of its “authenticity” and said that an increase in trade of the material between Peru and Europe would be positive.
Lupi emphasized how different the product is from others and encouraged Peruvian companies to become “the kings of alpaca producers” in the world.
At the same time, Carbajal highlighted the opportunity that the energy crisis in which Europe is immersed could represent for the Peruvian textile sector, by introducing, for example, alpaca blankets.
RETURN TO IN-PERSON EVENTS
After two years of being an online event, the 24th edition of Peru Moda-Deco is, in the eyes of Carbajal, an important incentive for business, since “in-person” meetings and being able to be physically see and touch the products that the 200 Peruvian businesses offer is difficult to match.
“Doing business face-to-face is a whole different sensation. To be able to touch the alpaca garments and everything we are offering here in this fair that is taking place today and tomorrow is another sensation. People are very happy to be face-to-face with Peruvian producers,” said the PromPeru president.
In this regard, the Peruvian designer Mariella Gonsales enthusiastically celebrates the return of the in-person trade fair, something that seems “wonderful” to her after more than two years without fashion events of this level that connects companies and producers.
A particularly important return for a product, alpaca wool, which is gradually making inroads in the global market.