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  • Sydney Umstead

Beyond The Dome: Fashion company possibly exploiting workers

By: Sydney Umstead, News Editor 


The fashion company Loro Piana has been accused of exploiting workers in Peru when sourcing wool which is used in their clothing.


The New York Times reported on how Representative Robert Garcia, a “first-term California Democrat and the first Peruvian-born person to serve in the House,” had discovered Loro Piana had not been “fairly compensating Indigenous workers in Peru who source the rare wool in some of its priciest knit clothing.” 


This led to Garcia’s decision to write to the company executives, stating, “As the first Peruvian American member of Congress and co-chair of the Congressional Peru Caucus, I write regarding concerning reports about the sourcing of vicuña wool by Loro Piana, a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.”


The article addresses how the conversation about the Loro Piana sweaters, currently being sold for $9,000, and which are made from the “ultra rare fur of a South American animal called a vicuña is not exactly a typical area of focus for a member of the U.S. Congress.” 

Garcia continued his address by noting, “While Loro Piana’s prices have increased, the price per kilo for fibers paid to the Lucanas community has fallen by one-third in just over a decade; and the villages’ revenue from the vicuña has fallen eighty percent.”


The New York Times goes on to address how the wool from the vicuña is known as being “sacred fabric worn by Incan royalty.” The article states, “The animal was revered in Indigenous folklore as a reincarnated maiden wrapped in a gold coat” and “is the source of one of the most expensive fabrics available.” 


The chief executive of Loro Piana, Matthieu Garnier, addressed these claims and “disputed the Bloomberg report,” which looked into the company’s relationship with “members of the Peruvian Indigenous community who harvest and sell the fur from the Andean vicuña,” in their article “The Vicuñas and the $9,000 Sweater.” 


In the statement, Garnier wrote that the company pays its workers “in accordance with local practices.” However, The Times disclosed that Garnier “did not address specific claims that the company has paid less in recent years but asserted that Indigenous people themselves have rejected some of the claims of exploitation.” 



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