Annie Hurlbut

Alpaca Moda 2016, a new event specializing in alpaca textiles and fashion, has tapped Annie Hurlbut, chief executive officer of Peruvian Connection, as its guest of honor at its Star Fashion Show in Arequipa, Peru, next month.

Organizers said in recognition of Peruvian Connection’s close ties to alpaca and its use in its collections and the company’s 40th anniversary, it has designated Peruvian Connection as the first ambassador of the brand Alpaca del Perú in the U.S.

“It’s a big deal to be singled out among the many people and companies that work with alpaca and I’m truly honored,” Hurlbut said in an interview. “Alpaca is really a fabulous product for fashion and extremely important to the people of Peru.”

Alpaca Moda’s main objective is to publicize and promote the use of alpaca fiber and textile products in the global market through the use of the brand name Alpaca del Perú. The Alpaca del Perú brand is intended to bring acknowledgement and positioning to alpaca fiber and textiles nationwide and internationally.

Organizers noted that Peruvian Connection has made a significant contribution to the development of the industrial and handcrafting activities of the alpaca textile sector.

Peruvian Connection was launched in 1976 by Hurlbut and her mother, Biddy. While researching anthropology in Peru, Annie, a 19-year-old Yale student, was taken by the extraordinary hand-woven mantas and ponchos she discovered in the markets of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Incas.

Although the company has grown since that first sweater changed hands, the original goal remains to offer artisan-made, original designs in native Andean luxury fibers, Hurblut noted. Today, Peruvian Connection’s collections are created by a group of designers. Each piece features ethnographic textiles from around the world, made by skilled Andean artisans.

Hurlbut said she’s been to Peru about 150 times over the years and is drawn to the culture and the artisans that live there. Peruvian Connection also uses pima cotton from Peru in its collection that includes women’s sweaters, tops, skirts, dresses, pants and coats, as well as jewelry, accessories and footwear.

The are seven Peruvian Connection stores — in New York; London; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Mo., and Sante Fe, N.M. Hurblut said while some of the finished goods are manufactured in Peru, she makes a lot of the line in New York.

“I’m so impressed and happy about the skills that are being brought back to New York,” she said. “The quality of the manufacturing we’re getting is great and I want to do as much as I can in New York.”

The Star Fashion Show will take place in a colonial-style street in the city with an expected audience of 500.

Alpaca Moda 2016 takes place Oct. 25 to 28 within the context of Alpaca Fashion Week in Arequipa. It is being organized by the International Alpaca Association and the Peruvian Commission for the Promotion of Exports and Tourism.

The event will encompass a variety of activities, such as business roundtables with international buyers, exhibition facilities with stands, international conferences and specialized seminars, visits to textile factories and fashion shows.