China’s Leading Yarn Exporter Partners with South American Alpaca Industry

Consinee Group, industry leader in luxury yarn production and China’s largest cashmere yarn exporter, recently committed to increasing their alpaca yarn production by 30% in 5 years. Consinee produces 10,000 tons of premium yarn products a year for the world’s top designers, contributing 20-25% of the global total cashmere yarn output.

Currently Consinee produces 1500 tons of alpaca yarn annually, which accounts for 10-15% of the global total production of the natural fiber native to South America. This decision was announced recently during Shanghai Fashion Week, when the Consinee Center in Shanghai hosted Peru Fashion Night Gala on October 8th as the first phase of a new partnership with South American alpaca and vicuna producers, made possible through the facilitation of the Peruvian government.

[A pair of live alpacas steal the spotlight during the Peru Shanghai Fashion Gala runway presentation at Consinee Center.]

The evening opened with welcoming remarks by Boris Xue, Chairman of Consinee Group and David Gamarra, Consul General of Peru in Shanghai. A runway show followed, featuring a capsule collection of gorgeous nature-inspired knitwear created by designer Ruiping Guo using Consinee alpaca and cashmere wool yarn.

Attendees, including leaders of the Chinese fashion and manufacturing industries, the Peruvian Ambassador to China Luis Quesada as well as Consul Generals from Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela mingled at the post-show reception, many clamoring for an audience with the true stars of the evening, a pair of heart-meltingly adorable alpacas.

Mr. Gamarra noted that 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Peru-China diplomatic relationship, and that China is the second main destination for Peru’s alpaca products. The South American country’s Andean hills are the ancestral home of the gentle grazers, and currently boasts an alpaca population of over 4 million, almost 80% of the world total. He hopes to cooperate with Consinee in promoting animal welfare, ecological preservation and sustainable development efforts. Together, they will engage in meaningful discourse with international authorities in these fields, including ICCAW, CCMI, SFA, and UNCCD in support of their efforts.

Peru’s textile and apparel sector provides employment to more than 350,000 people, and the alpaca industry supports tens of thousands of indigenous farmers and herders. Alpaca fiber, known as “Gold of the Andes”, have been in use for more than 5000 years, the Incans reserved the wool for the royal family and nobility. Today they are prized for being hypoallergenic(free of lanolin), light(hollow-core), water-repellent, and for their luxurious softness and low environmental impact owing to their efficient grazing habits and padded hooves.

[Runway looks from the Peru Fashion Gala on Oct 8th featuring alpaca, mohair and cashmere knitwear designed for Consinee by Ruiping Guo.]

Consinee yarn is woven from high-end natural fibers including baby cashmere from Inner Mongolia, mohair, vicuna and alpaca. While alpaca yarn accounts for approximately 15% of Consinee’s total production, Xue expects the fiber will contribute to 20% of the company total by 2026. Adding, “In recent years we’ve noticed an increase in demand from our international brand clients for alpaca wool yarn. We believe this is driven mainly by an industry-wide commitment to sustainability as well as by the unique luxury qualities of the alpaca fiber.”

Consinee’s new relationships established directly with South American alpaca and vicuna fiber producers is a step forward in the right direction, Xue believes. He hopes this will benefit his brand clients as he looks at the group’s growth plans in a post-pandemic world. While the US and Europe remain the top destinations for Consinee yarn, domestic Chinese brands have been outpacing international clients in growth in the past year. While the markets may differ in taste, they share a common concern for environmental and social responsibility. To that end, Consinee not only advocates for animal rights and nature preservation with all of their raw material suppliers, they also promise to work with alpaca wool producers and the local government to optimize industry standards and invest in sustainable solutions.

[Consinee Group Chairman Boris Xue welcomes the Peruvian Ambassador to China Luis Quesada to the Consinee Center in Shanghai.]

Consinee Group established the Consinee Shanghai Center to serve domestic brands and design professionals, acting as a hub for industry dialogue. Mr. Quesada presented the center with a plaque designating it as an officially recognized exhibition center for Peruvian Alpaca. Xue thinks opportunities like this is exactly why he built the Consinee Center, explaining that “as the only Asian participant and exhibitor of Italy’s prestigious Pitti Filati, we hope to share our first-hand access to international trends with China’s design industry.” This November, Consinee Group’s TOPLINE brand will participate at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) with their South American partners.

As an industry leader for over two decades, Consinee Group credits their dedication to quality, sustainability and investment in R&D as the main driving forces behind their continued success. In 2019 they activated the world’s first fully digital intelligent unmanned yarn production factory, developed in partnership with German innovator Siemens AG. The unmanned factory also does not require lighting to operate, adding to their energy efficiency while shortening production from the standard 45-60 days to a mere 15-20 days. This savvy investment allowed them to weather the pandemic, promising three-week product delivery to clients also suffering from pandemic-related supply chain setbacks in 2020.

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