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Peru Moda Highlights Country’s Eco-Friendly Cotton, Textiles

MEXICO CITY — Peru Moda, Peru’s bi-annual textiles fair, showcased the Andean nation’s growing environmentally friendly products as it looks to bolster exports and bounce from the pandemic.

The latest digital edition raised $11 million in potential sourcing contracts from 450 online appointments, according to organizer Peruvian export and tourism lobby Promperu.

Roughly 95 buyers attended online forums from 15 countries, it said, including the U.S., Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, meeting with 39 exporters.

They sought cotton and fibers for adults, children and babies, organizers said. Cotton and knitwear staples such as pima polos, T-shirts, dresses, leggings and pants were also in demand, they added, as were pajamas, sportswear and sweaters.

Peru’s growing eco-friendly apparel and textiles were also on display just as the government works to promote environmentally responsible products as part of a Cotton USA partnership.

Marine algae, alpaca blends

“There were garments made of alpaca and organic cotton blends for babies and children,” a Promperu spokeswoman said. “We also had some innovations such as marine algae-based fibers and items made of alpaca and silver blends which have fungicide properties and are being applied in socks.”

Companies including online fashion brand Topitop, D’Peru Textil and knitwear maker Kero Design showcased these goods while Textil del Valle continued to promote its new green cotton line, alongside organic cotton supplier Naturtex, which makes a line of copper-based cotton called Qoperfina.

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Some 10 Peruvian firms are now part of Cotton USA’s U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol aimed at cutting global pollution from sustainably grown cotton.

Some of these firms, including Algodonera Continental, Confecciones Textimax, Hilandería de Algodón Peruano, Industria Textil del Pacífico and Textil del Valle, are working on pilot programs or are already cutting water pollution by 82 percent, sources said.

Under the Cotton Trust Protocol, they must meet certain goals and make quantifiable progress to show they are shifting into sustainable cotton harvesting and production.

Executives at Textil del Valle, widely seen as leading Peru’s sustainability charge, said production has been streamlined to slash energy usage through solar power and water recycling facilities.

General manager Juan Jose Cordova told journalists that 50 percent of the firm’s energy now comes from a solar park while efforts to recycle water through microfiltration and reverse osmosis are helping reduce consumption by 40 percent. The firm is also engaging in nitrogen-based dying activities and has opened a fabric-recycling facility, Cordova noted.

‘Technical textiles’

Union officials welcomed Textil del Valle and other firms’ efforts to build a more sustainable fashion chain, saying they should help the industry recover some of last year’s deep job losses.

“If done right, it could really help us create more jobs,” said Vicente Castro, who heads textiles union FTTP and is following companies’ efforts to go green.

Castro said there are ventures to produce organic cotton in the country’s Amazon region, including “brown-sugar or sugar-cane colored” varieties that make dyeing easier.

“They are in full development processes [for overall eco-friendly cotton] and lab testing fibers,” he said, adding that other textiles major Creditex is carrying out such tests at sites in Pisco and Trujillo.

In other innovations, producers are rushing to make new intelligent and functional textiles, importing next-generation machines to make them.

Some of them, such as Tecnologia Textil, are making overalls and other work wear for diverse industries and the military that are both water and heat resistant and adapt to body temperature, he noted.

Castro said unions plan to push Peru’s new President Carlos Castillo to launch a program to further technify cotton harvesting and production processes to enable farmers to make a higher profit from its sale, which he said has declined in recent years.

“Harvesting has been rudimentary and unprofitable so many farmers abandoned it and went to work at rice or wheat fields,” he added. “This meant a lot of cotton was imported, hurting jobs.”