Textiles Del Peru

Red little bugs Cochineal Peru color cactus bugs

Peruvian Highland Wool

Wherever you’ll find yourself in Peru, you’ll be guaranteed to be surrounded by bright and warm hues of coloured Peru textiles. Vibrant, rich-coloured fabrics became Peruvian tourism symbols and the world’s finest natural, durable fibres. Weaving has been part of the Andean culture for thousands of years, just like the colours in textiles del Peru.

Peru’s symbols represent the Inca nation’s uniqueness reflecting various aspects of the Inca culture, with the national colours of Peru being red and white. Still today, Peruvians wear traditional Peruvian clothing with geometric patterns in vibrant colours.

Textile Companies in Peru (Empresas Textiles en Peru) are known for having the best textile artisans in South America. Peru is the world’s biggest exporter of Alpaca wool, which increased to more than 3612 USD in 2020. The popular Cusco town is known as the Textile Capital of Peru.

Woman with Peru traditional clothing
Women with Peru’s traditional clothing

History Textiles en Peru

1526 when the Spanish arrived in Peru, they saw only gold and glory without any appreciation for Inca culture and their valuable indigenous animals. So instead, the Spanish subjected these animals to abuse and crossbred the Llamas and Alpacas.

All this devastated the Inca nation and their animals, resulting in a considerable decline in wool quality. Thankfully during the 19th century, Sir Titus Salt, an Englishman, came to their rescue reviving the species and its value.

Llamas, Alpacas & Vicunas

Alpaca is a domesticated camelid species descended from the Vicuña. At the same time, Vicunas and Guanacos are the two wild South American camelid species. Vicunas and Alpacas live in Peru’s central and southern regions at elevations up to 15 000 feet. This is why Alpacas grow exceptionally dense fleece with high thermal quality.

The extraordinary Vicuna is the national animal of Peru. In ancient times, Alpacas and Llamas were mainly used as pack animals. Nowadays, Alpacas are primarily raised worldwide for their valuable wool fibre exporting Peru textiles. These unique Peruvian animals provide wool, vitamin-enriched meat, and leather.

Alpaca vs Llama

Although Alpacas are relatively more minor than Llamas, people often confuse them. However, these two camelid species are closely related and successfully crossbreed, with the most remarkable difference in their physical appearance.

When it comes to size, Llamas weigh up to 400 pounds. Alpacas, on the other hand, weigh around 150 pounds. Where Alpacas are of slender build with short spear-shaped ears, Llamas have longer necks and noses with long banana-shaped ears.

Alpaca Species

Suri Alpaca and Huacaya Alpaca

The best Alpaca yarn comes from the rare Suri Alpacas, which comprise only about 10% of the Alpaca population worldwide. Huacaya Alpaca is the most popular with its soft, dense Alpaca fleece. The fibres of Suri are soft, long and straight, entwined dreadlocks, identical to cashmere. Whereas Huacaya fibres are densely crimped and elastic, resembling sheep wool.

Alpaca farm Huacaya Alpaca Peru
Alpaca farm Huacaya Alpaca Peru

Chinchero Textiles Del Peru

The cosy rustic village of Chinchero lies 3762m above sea level in the beautiful Sacred Valley between Cusco and Urubamba. Each handmade Peruvian wool piece they make is a unique artwork.

Inca wool backstrap weaving
Inca wool backstrap weaving

The small village of Chinchero is famous for its Peruvian-quality textiles and weaving. All fabrics weaved at Chinchero come in rich, vibrant colours, with their unique Logo woven into every masterpiece.

The Independent Kantu weaving centre Chinchero was born after a need arose to establish a textile centre for Peruvian women weavers.

This is where women from the community practice daily traditional weaving techniques. With their backstrap weaving techniques and creating unique Textile del Peru pieces.

Furthermore, generate an income by selling these traditional handmade items. In Chinchero, Peruvian woman weavers demonstrate all the processes at the famous City of Weavers.

Peru’s symbols represent the Inca nation’s uniqueness reflecting various aspects of the Inca culture with their national colours, red and white. The red lines in the Peruvian Flag represent the bloodshed, whereas the white symbolizes freedom and peace. 


Alpaca Shearing Methods

They use distinct shaving methods to shear Alpaca, Llamas, sheep, and baby Alpaca fleece.

Sorting of Alpaca fur

Next, they sort the Alpaca wool in batches, with the thinnest strands being the most valuable. And the finest, softest, and best-quality fibre is those of the Vicuna baby Alpaca.

Washing Alpaca wool

Surprisingly Incas use the Sakta root, a natural detergent for washing the wool. Interestingly, they also use the Sakta root to wash their hair.

Sakta root Inca wool detergent
Sakta Roots Inca wool detergent.

Peru Color Methods

Indigenous Incas’ knowledge and techniques of using natural ingredients for dyeing yarn and colouring wool. These traditions were passed on from generation to generation. They use only natural products to produce shades of rich, bright colours.

After that, the mixture adds to water and boiled with the wool for hours, using mineral salts to fasten the colour. Thenceforth, colouring, they drape the hand-dyed yarn in the sun to dry.

Chinchero Peru textile center dyeing Peru fiber
Chinchero Peru textile centre dyeing Peru fibre

Textile Del Peru Colours

Peru Red

For Peruvians, red symbolizes bravery, immense power, passion and provoking energy. The warm, rich, intense carmine Red is noticeable everywhere in Textiles del Peru, even in the Peru flag.

Who would think the minor red bugs found on prickly pears are essential for Carmine, a natural red dye? At the Peru textile cooperative, the woman weaver took a tiny insect, Cochineal, and placed it in the palm of her hand. Interestingly, after crushing it, the Cochineal turned to red paste.

Peru Orange

The red paste turned orange when she came in contact with the mineral stone. Citric acid causes the paste to change to orange.

Indigo blue colour

They use Tara, Indigo, and Kimsaq’ucho for different shades of blue.

White and Yellow

Natural Alpaca wool. Alpacas come in 22 natural colours, with the purest natural colour, white. They use Q’ulle’s and Qaqa Sunka’s flowers for shades of yellow.

Green, Purple, and Grey

Chapi plant, Qaqa Sunka, Yanali, or Mutuy, Nununqa to produce the colour Green. Purple Peruvian corn, Copper, or iron oxide for shades of Purple.

Brown and Black Yarn in Peru

Incas used Nogal leaves and seeds to produce brown or Qaqa Sankha. For black, they use natural black Alpaca wool.

Weaving & Spinning Textiles Del Peru

They spun the Inca wool twice to ensure elasticity and toughness to withstand backstrap weaving. Women weavers in Peru use an Andean Pushka spindle. In Quechua, Peruvians talk about drop spindle spinning or yarn spindle, similar to a wooden top.

Spinning Peruvian wool Vicuna yarn
Spinning Peruvian wool Vicuna yarn

Weaving, Spinning & Roving

Differences between Weaving and Spinning

  • Weaving turns threads into textiles and the layering of Alpaca yarn strings or wool in a crosswise pattern.
  • They use these techniques to create undivided fabric lengths and textiles.
  • Spinning is a process where they use fibre strings to make yarn.
  • Weaving and Spinning turn raw fibre into functional textiles del Peru.

What is Roving Peru yarn?

Roving is the process of collecting raw fibres for making beautiful textiles.

Quality of Peru Textiles

Alpaca Wool & Alpaca Fur

Alpacas come in 22 natural colours, with white-coloured baby Alpaca wool of the finest quality. The unique Alpaca blankets are a mere drop of what you can expect from Textiles del Peru.

Pieces range from Baby Alpaca fur coats to Alpaca gloves and hats. Furthermore, the most beautiful scarves, Ponchos, Alpaca sweaters, and Alpaca socks are in hues of bright colours.

  • 100% Alpaca and Vicuna have no sewn seams and are incredibly fine and soft.
  • Water-resistant,
  • Alpaca wool is Non-allergenic and non-itchy since it’s lanolin-free.
  • Regulates your body temperature
  • Natural Alpaca textiles feel cold when you touch the piece with the back-side of your hand, whereas wool or synthetic pieces do not.
  • Baby Alpaca wool items are heavier than their counterpart.

Types of Alpaca Fur and Llama Fur

The unique characteristics of Alpaca fur and wool are hollow, strong, soft, superfine, lanolin-free and anti-allergenic wool. Alpacas’ fat-free fibre is the reason for its anti-allergenic properties. Being 0.02mm thick, human hair has a thickness of about 0.06mm.

Berroco ultra Alpaca wool Baby Alpaca
Berroco ultra Alpaca wool Baby Alpaca

What is Baby Alpaca?

Baby Alpaca wool is from the chest, neck, and back butt area. 

Berroco ultra Alpaca wool

Top-quality superfine Alpaca wool blended with Peruvian Highland wool becomes luxurious Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

Alpaca silk Yarn

A blend of silk and Alpaca, silk for its satiny sheen and Alpaca for warmth and lightness. These two make a perfect and luxurious combination.

Alpaca Wool vs Cashmere

Cashmere and merino wool are less warm, light, soft, and strong than Alpaca wool. However, when it comes to outdoor use, Alpaca, with all its qualities, is an obvious winner.

Alpaca wool price

Deficient Vicuña wool is exceptionally costly and is of the unique fibre in the world.

You can expect to pay anything from $50 for an Alpaca wool Jersey. The same piece in baby Alpaca fleece can cost anything from $80.

Vicuna clothing is the most expensive, and one can predict that paying for a Vicuna sweater costs around $600.

Clothing Manufacturers in Peru

Alpaca clothing and Alpaca farm products
Alpaca clothing and Alpaca farm products

Peru made its mark as a producer of top-quality garments for the discerning international market. Some Peru Clothing Manufacturers already produce brands like Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Muji, Kenzo, and DKNY. 

PIMA Cotton Clothing, in Lima, Peru, is one of the clothing manufacturers that produce top-quality garments for exportation.

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  1. Yes I also can’t wait to get back to the colourful land of the friendly Inca nation.

  2. Jackie S. says:

    This post brought back some good memories of my Peru trip. I love the bright colors of the textiles. I bought a purple alpaca scarf and continue to use it for all my winter getaways. Would love to return to Peru again!

  3. Glad you’ve enjoyed the post. Must say when I wrote the post, I relived every moment and want to go back!

  4. Glad you enjoyed it, and yes, the vibrant colors of everything in Peru are amazing!

  5. Enjoyed reading this blog post! Love the descriptions to differentiate between Alpacos and Llamas. Peruvians seem to love the vibrant colors in all their woven stuff like hats and wraps. Interesting post! 🙂

  6. This is so interesting to learn all of the info and techniques behind this! It just makes me want to visit Peru even more haha 🙂 All of the alpaca wool goods are beautiful!

  7. Sorry you missed it but hopefully you’ll go next year. Peru is amazing!! thanks for your time reading my post and glad you’ve enjoyed it.

  8. Yes they are very clever with all the natural stuff they use. Thanks for your comment glad you’ve enjoyed it.

  9. Yes you need to go – Peru is truly amazing!

  10. Thank you so much for your comment.

  11. We unfortunately missed our visit to Peru this year. I would surely want to check out the local textiles. I did not know that alpaca came in 22 natural colours. But I do love all the bright colours.

  12. I love love love my alpaca hat! But the Peruvian colors are so vibrant!!!

  13. Wow, this is such a detailed article. I had heard about Peru textiles, but never knew about them in this detail. I am hoping that they are now managing their textile industry well. I believe the Berroco ultra Alpaca wool is good in quality, though they look a bit expensive. A nicely written piece.

  14. I love the colours and textures of Peru. It’s definitely something I want to see in person one day. The alpaca wool is wonderful and I’d no idea about the different types before.

  15. Great read on the textile industry in Peru! It was fascinating to learn about the natural ingredients used to dye the wool, it’s amazing how vibrant they can get the colors. Thanks for the interesting post!