Meet the Peruvian Designers Pushing Fashion Forward
As a growing and powerful global player relying on its almost exclusive production of pima cotton and baby alpaca wool in the world, two of the most luxurious and loved fibers of all time, the South American country of Peru just made a strong move and kicked off a three-year plan to market and develop its outstanding production of textiles and fashion design at the international level.
Featuring the excellence of baby alpaca wool and pima cotton, ten established designers are proving the growth of the Peruvian fashion industry, worldwide renowned for the excellence of its sourcing department.
ten established designers are proving the growth of the Peruvian fashion industry
With a variety of collections ranging from outwear to the most contemporary ready to wear, and a few bohemian-style extensions, PeHModa is at work for the placement of its collections among key players in the North American retail industry, thanks to a variety of resources when it comes to look books and to a strategic price point at the wholesale level.
The PeHModa project is supported by a strategic marketing action including advertisement and top editorials on major publications, high profile content on social media and trade shows. We sat down with Ms. Isabella Falco, director of Brand Peru, who was present for interviews during the three days of activity at Coterie – the premier global event that connects women’s apparel, accessories, and footwear designers.
Interview with Isabella Falco
As Director of Communications and Country Image at PromPeru, Isabella has more than 30 years of experience as an international advertising creative and communications expert, with a background in Cinema and Comparative Literature studies in the United States.
Her strength lies in planning, creating and executing communications campaigns. Writer and editor, she has also successfully entered the fields of mass media, social projects and public service. Today she is better known for launching the Peru Country Brand and managing the communications of PromPeru to promote her country’s tourism and foreign trade.
Q: Peru is taking important steps to develop its own brand identity in fashion. How much has Peru’s traditional role as a sourcing destination for the most recognized labels in the world influenced your decision to invest in building your own network of labels?
Only a handful of civilizations in the world can claim to have been the birthplace of rich textile cultures. One such civilization is the Inca Empire that covered much of South America and had its capital in Peru. Pre-Inca cultures such as Paracas and Nazca cultivated cotton and natural dyes in the coastal valleys, while Chavin and Tiawanaku handcrafted fine knits and cloth from alpaca and vicuna in the highlands. For centuries we have been a land of fine textiles and specialized textile workers. No wonder then that in the contemporary fashion scenario, we have a privileged place as the ideal country for sourcing high quality cotton, alpaca and a fusion of textile blends. Our fibers are top rated and our craftsmanship cannot be duplicated, that is why recognized labels that put quality above all else, prefer Peru as their trustworthy sourcing destination.
This fact has opened our eyes to the great possibilities a globalized world offers our Peruvian fashion designers. They are creative and talented, but additionally they work with the finest textile fibers in the world and with the most experienced and amazing craftsmen and women. That’s a combination that cannot be beat!
Q: WWD, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Elle, these are just a few of the worldwide media that have been featuring Peruvians collections in recent issues. Could you describe how you set up the synergistic collaboration between your institution and a NY production company that led to these results?
Our fashion designers have formed a guild to represent their interests and to further their goals. Their idea is to work together under our country brand, Brand Peru, in order to let the world know about the quality of Peruvian textiles. They found PeHModa Project [Peruvian Hub at FTL MODA], a New York based agent, and our institution PromPeru joined in to make their dream come true. We have been able to have clothing, accessories, shoes and bags featured in the top publications of the industry because we are working as one, guided by the firm belief that the fashion world is ready to embrace the design and quality that come from Peru.
Q: What are in your opinion the biggest strengths of the Peruvian fashion industry, in terms of quality of materials, workmanship, and originality of design? How will they play a role in ensuring its success at the international level?
The Peruvian formula for success in fashion is talent and originality for design, fine sustainable fibers such as Pima cotton and Baby alpaca, and unparalleled craftsmanship made perfect by practice. These are the ingredients that will be responsible for the international success of Brand Peru textiles.
Q & A with Peruvian Designers
Q: What is the connection between the vision of your brand and the mission of Art Atlas?
“We are totally connected, Anntarah was born because in our vision of sustainability and our values we needed to create our own brand to keep sustainability throughout the production chain, showing through our brand the hearts of the people who produce the garments.”
Q: Tell me about the Peruvian Paso Horse…I know this was a major inspiration for you…how can the horse be seen in the collection we see here today?
“The Peruvian Paso Horse is such a unique animal, that I found it to be the perfect match for the development of my collection. This horse is powerful and rare at the same time and this is what I wanted to manifest in my handmade garments through the use of leather, alpaca, patterns, and color. Through my most recent collection Fina Rienda, I found my true identity as a designer and that is thanks to the Peruvian Paso Horse.”
Q: What emotions do you hope your clothes show? How do these emotions speak to your brand’s overall vision?
“My lines exude elegance with a touch of comfort and modern vibe.
For the latest collection fall winter 18/19 we have used baby alpaca and a vibrancy of colors that give the collections LIFE.”
Q: What is the vision in blending classical and contemporary cuts? How does this speak to the brand’s overall vision?
“Finding a balance between contemporary design while using traditional Peruvian techniques has always been our company’s main mission. We work with our weavers on reclaiming traditional weaving techniques and empowering the memory of Peru’s traditions. Our collections are both sourced and made locally”
Q: How are you able to keep your deep traditional roots while still producing modern collections? How does your determination to maintain traditional connect to the vision of your brand? How do you plan to expand in the U.S./what are your next steps in the U.S.?
“Our collections are handwoven or hand knitted, we constantly exchange our modern designs with the millenary knowledge of skilled weavers of the highlands, playing by mixing our wonderful fiber baby alpaca and alpaca blends in wefts and warps in traditional looms achieving different textures. The shapes of our accessories are very clean and geometric a mixture of the UNKU tunic that was the dress of the Incas and similar to the Japanese kimono, this is the connection between the deep traditional roots and our contemporary style.
We have a philosophy of supporting textile communities in the highlands in self sustainable programs to improve their quality of life, which creates mutual trust to share knowledges with them. We think that for customers it will also be good to know that their purchase orders are supporting these people. We are very concern in the social aspect of keeping weaving our artisans all year round
Since we are very fast in product development, we think we can work with our brand and for private labels, which would be for us a great alternative and good for brands to add accessories to their collections. Of those two ways of working we would have a broader range of clients, not just accessories for women’s, men and unisex, also museums stores, gift shops, ski resorts and others.”
Q: Your collections focus on overall comfort and wellbeing. How was this inspired/what was the vision? You have been in Anthropology, what are your next steps in the U.S.?
“I am in a moment with my life in which I appreciate the importance of living in balance, I use bio magnetic therapy to treat different things in my life so thinking about a way of giving more to our clients I thought that mixing the finest Peruvian fibers, design and this type of therapy could be an amazing way to remind us of the importance of our wellbeing.
Next step will be entering more boutiques to expand territory and start our business to consumer strategy with ecommerce.”
Q: What inspired you to use the materials such as alpaca and pima cotton? How do these materials relate to the vision of your brand?
“Kero’s garments have a mission: telling the story, the heritage, the life of Peruvian women and men who, relying on their knowhow and traditions, continue to pour hope and energy into making the fashion industry a great opportunity for their Country’s growth. Adding manufacturing precision and technological tools allows us to become not only competitive in terms of price, but also and especially in terms of quality and performance of our finished collections, to compete with the ever more demanding worldwide industry.”