Loro Piana’s $9,000 sweaters rely on unpaid farmers in Peru

Andrea Barrientos, a 75-year-old subsistence farmer in the Peruvian Andes, participates annually in herding wild vicuñas for miles at high altitudes, shearing them for their valuable wool. The wool, known for its softness and golden-brown color, is highly sought after by luxury fashion brands like Loro Piana, which sells a vicuña sweater for approximately $9,000. However, Barrientos’ Indigenous community of Lucanas, the sole supplier to Loro Piana, receives only about $280 for an equivalent amount of wool, leaving no compensation for Barrientos, who is expected to volunteer her labor.

Loro Piana, owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE and controlled by billionaire Bernard Arnault, has established itself as a symbol of “quiet luxury,” featured prominently in depictions of the wealthy. Despite the brand’s high prices and association with opulence, the individuals like Barrientos who contribute to its supply chain often receive minimal compensation for their labor.

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