June 20, 2019
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Cotton, alpaca boost Peru textile exports in 2018

By Monica Martinez

Lima, Apr 12 (efe-epa).- Shirts, T-shirts and cardigans made of cotton or woven of alpaca were the Peruvian textile exports that led the 10 percent rise in sales outside the country in 2018, and which amounted to $1.4 billion, the export director of PromPeru, Luis Torres, told EFE.

Torres provided the figures at the fashion fair plus press conference dubbed Peru Moda & Peru Moda Deco 2019, where the principal clothing manufacturers and fashion designers show off their latest collections to international buyers representing global markets.

It is precisely this fashion event, organized by the Promotion Commission of Peru for Exportation and Tourism (PromPeru), that is winning markets for Peruvian brands abroad and has sparked interest among foreign buyers to contact the country's local manufacturers, mostly small and medium-sized companies.

Torres noted that Peruvian exports "have had a positive record over the past three years, due to the development of a public-private promotion strategy," based on the needs of clothing manufacturers.

"In 2019, we believe these exports will increase between 7 and 8 percent, hopefully more, and the idea is to develop a much more intense promotion program in terms of presentations of the Peru Moda format in Asia and Europe, and with more specialized missions in Latin America," he said.

Peruvian textile sales abroad hit a record $2.2 billion in 2012, which authorities and the industry hope to repeat in the not-too-distant future.

In 2017, PromPeru reached the conclusion that the "most efficient and most effective" format for the textile industry would be a fashion fair plus press conference to provide a clearer understanding of international market trends and stimulate networking among Peruvian export firms.

Peru's leading products for export are cotton T-shirts, which had sales of $324 million in 2018, cotton shirts with $150 million in sales, and those woven of alpaca with $33 million.

The United States was the biggest market for Peruvian textiles with imports of $679 million, followed by Brazil ($70 million) and Chile ($64 million) among another 110 markets.

The director of PromPeru said it has added new product categories including "children's clothes, pajamas, haberdashery and articles for the home, with which we have some very powerful advantages, and we have also developed lines for the childhood, teenage and adult segments."

"This is the great challenge for our industry: starting with cotton and alpaca, to add new fiber blends, step up the technology and come up with value-added products" for the market, he said.

Alpaca fiber is one of the finest from any South American camelid for its softness, and is ideal for making overcoats and apparel for cold climates.

Alpaca breeders are located in the high altitudes of the Peruvian mountains, the natural habitat of this species, and their weavers' associations take part in both the fashion event and the exhibition of blankets for the home.

Large companies like the Inca Group in the Arequipa region sell alpaca fabrics and fabrics of alpaca mixed with cotton and silk, among other fibers, to some 30 foreign countries, and have their own apparel brands like Kuna, which targets tourists of high purchasing power.

The development of organic cotton and other sustainable fashion fibers, because of their minimum impact on the environment, are part of a trend that buyers from the United States and Europe seek to satisfy, and which for Peru could become the next boom for the textile industry and which it already has its talented young designers working on.

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