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The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Loro Piana accused of exploitative practices

Loro Piana is renowned for its meticulously crafted products using high quality vicuña wool, embodying exclusivity and luxury tailored for the elite.
Loro Piana is renowned for its meticulously crafted products using high quality vicuña wool, embodying exclusivity and luxury tailored for the elite.

April 5, 2024/Midnight

Erie Pa., — Loro Piana is under scrutiny after being accused of ‘exploitative’ practices towards Peruvian Indigenous workers.

Loro Piana, an Italy-based fashion house renowned for crafting products from vicuña wool, fiber collected from wild camelids roaming the Southern Andes, is facing accusations. Vicuña fiber, dubbed the ‘fiber of the gods’ by the brand due to its exceptional softness, undergoes a laborious harvesting process, reflected in the soaring prices of Loro Piana’s products. A vicuña sweater can cost consumers up to $9,000.

The hefty price tag may suggest quality, exclusivity, and perhaps, ethical production. However, a recent report alleges that the Indigenous Peruvian community, responsible for supplying raw materials to the brand, receives no compensation for their labor.

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Bloomberg Businessweek published a report detailing how Peruvian Indigenous workers receive minimal compensation for supplying the world’s finest fiber to the brand. The Indigenous community of Lucanas reportedly receives only $280 for an amount of fiber equivalent to a sweater, insufficient to cover the labor required for the harvest. The report indicates that laborers are expected to work for free.

Furthermore, while demand for vicuña fiber has increased and Loro Piana’s prices continue to rise, the compensation paid to Lucanas’s workers has fallen by 36% in the past decade. A study cited in the article reveals that 80% of the region’s inhabitants claim to have derived no benefit from their community’s involvement in the trade.

Bloomberg’s report also mentions Loro Piana’s monopolization of the vicuña wool market through land acquisition. Previously, companies had to sign commercial agreements with local communities to access vicuñas. However, a decree issued in 2000 allowed companies to collect fiber from any vicuñas on their property. To prevent the animals from leaving the property and to increase their reproduction rate, the company proposed erecting a 7.8-mile fence around its land. This semi-captive environment could reduce genetic diversity and lower the vicuña population’s life expectancy.

On social media, users have responded to the alleged exploitative business practices of Loro Piana, criticizing the excessive prices in comparison to the minimal compensation for labor.

“Quite luxury is known as quite slavery,” one user sarcastically commented on the brand.

The influential Instagram account @diet_prada urges consumers to support other brands in one of its posts.

‘There are plenty of brands actively supporting Indigenous communities in Peru, where you can be sure your money is reaching them,’ says the 3.4 million users Instagram account.

Amidst the online outrage, Loro Piana has stopped updating its social media accounts. Recently, a US lawmaker demanded that the brand address the accusations.

Loro Piana, a subsidiary of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, has been using vicuña fibers from big-eyed, golden-brown camelids native to the Andes for three decades. The brand re-emerged in the fashion landscape as part of the ‘quiet luxury’ trend that gained momentum on various social media platforms in 2023.

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About the Contributor
Quoc Huy Ngo
Quoc Huy Ngo, Arts & Leisure Editor
Hi! This academic years Arts & Leisure editor is Quoc Huy Ngo. Writing is one of his passions and he has been writing for more than one year. Besides writing, reading is also one of his biggest enjoyments (especially anything about art and the fashion industry). During his downtime, he loves to clean and decorate his space, spend time with friends, or just chill and enjoy tiny, beautiful things in life. Thank you for all of your support. 

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