Peru is a hotbed of artisan fashion. In fact, there’s literally something for everyone here, from cozy hats and mittens to modern dresses, rainbow woven scarfs and minimalist alpaca sweaters. Whatever type of cotton, wool, or alpaca woven traditional Latin American thing you’ve been dreaming of, you will absolutely find it either in Lima or Cusco.
My favorite part of Peruvian fashion is, of course, alpaca! Alpaca is a wonderfully luxurious and sustainable material. They live perfect lives –– you’ll see alpacas happily gamboling in fields all over the Andes, or even walking around Cusco itself, as docile on a lead as a dog on a leash. They just get shaved and rereleased in to their natural habitat. In fact, this shoe factory in Peru only uses alpaca fur from alpacas that died a natural death. And alpacas have evolved along with the Andes ecosystem, and require less resources and produce more wool than cashmere goats. Yeah, it’s like the perfect material.
So, without further ado, here are the best authentic stores that sell the most beautiful artisan items – and pay a fair wage to those artisans, too.
Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Stores in Cusco, Peru
This cute mountain town has an alpaca store around every corner. But not all are created equal, in ethics or style. Visit these and skip the rest, trust me!
My favorite store in Cusco, this was founded by a stylish Cusceña (a native woman from Cusco). The name actually means, “So cold!” in Quechua, a frequent exclamation you’ll here if you spent any time with an Andes woman. Here you’ll find leather and woven purses, carved marble home accessories, ponchos and serapes, hand-painted figurines, and jewelry, and it is all ethically sourced from local artisans. Honestly, if I didn’t already own a cashmere serape from Mexico, I would have made one of the serapes/ponchos in A La Lau mine!
This new upscale store sells sweaters and crochet leather necklaces that scream “upscale festival wear.” I got some gold nugget earrings here after much indecision about where to spend my shopping budget. Plus, a portion of your purchase goes to a local nonprofit, Hawka Pacha.
Kuna is one of the two alpaca empires in Peru, and in my opinion, the one with better style. Think Eileen Fisher, but all alpaca (or its luxury cousin, vicuña). There are multiple stores all over Peru, so take your time deciding what you like best. You could even pick something up at the airport boutique before you board your flight home!
This is the most Fair Trade of Fair Trade stores, in ethos and style. Find ponchos, hats, gloves, and purses, all in very simple and traditional designs and affordable prices. It’s not high fashion, but is a good place to get those gloves and hat you need to hike the Rainbow Mountains, without supporting some of the more cheap and exploitative tourist shops all over Cusco.
A coffee shop and store in one, this store sells quality secondhand fashion. It wasn’t open the day I went, unfortunately. If you do check it out, leave some feedback in the comments below!
Ethical and Sustainable Shopping in Lima
Lima is a cosmopolitan city with excellent style, plus a deep well of artisanal knowledge and native materials to draw upon. There’s such an abundance of artisan fashion, home wares, and gifts that I’m only including the very best below. And it’s still more than you could hit in a few days in Lima. So choose carefully!
Find jewelry in bold geometric shapes plus delicate stacking rings necklaces, all made in Peru with Fairmined gold and raw stones.
If you told me the airline had lost your luggage on the way to Peru, I would tell you to come here, a small store filled with flattering sweaters, serapes, jersey dresses, and skirts, and cotton tops with handmade buttons. It all looks simple, but there’s a subtle twist to the design of everything. I could see myself wearing everything in Peru as well as Berlin and New York, too.
Find incredibly inventive and ethically made jewelry at this store. It was actually one of my biggest regrets that it was closed the day I went. So please don’t make the same mistake I did –– check the schedule and get over there when you land!
A Peruvian Danish brand, it combines minimalist modernism with artisanal production in Peru, using the native textiles of alpaca and pima cotton. They had a pop-up store when I visited, but it’s also available in the Dedalo store, below, and online at Revolve. You can also buy at their studio on the second floor of a residential building if you want to peruse the entire collection –– just shoot them an email or Facebook message. They are very welcoming, and it’s a lovely experience. When I visited, an artisan was busy sorting wool in the main area. They even have a beautiful balcony out back that just begs for a cup of tea.
This store carrie Peruvian art and artisan products, go through the first room past the more chintzy stuff to find the alpaca wraps, art prints, cookbooks, and artisan food, and relax with a juice in the back patio. It has some Susan Wagner and Ayni, too.
This private home, owned by a Welsh lady who has lived in Peru since it was considered one of the most dangerous places in the world, has been turned into a magical space, with a profusion of artisan rugs, paintings, ponchos, clay churches to hang on your wall, blankets, and the softest alpaca figurines. I was drooling over all the exquisite pieces! If you see him, say hi to her old hairless Peruvian rescue dog, part of a species that was in danger of going extinct a decade ago that she had a hand in reviving.
This popular store features all Peruvian designers. About a quarter are expressly ethically made, so ask questions! You can also stop for a cold smoothie inside the shop on a hot day.
This modern store is hipster in the best way possible (e.g. with Peruvian materials and designers), featuring home items, modern leather bags, lots of plants and Peruvian music CDs. I absolutely loved this place!
This shop has a wide range of eco-friendly products, including fresh vegetables, teas and other herbs, zero-waste accessories, snacks and cosmetic products. I didn’t personally visit, but if you need to restock on some basic sustainable items, this would be the place!
This museum deserves a visit just because it’s amazing. But keep your credit card handy when you’re done, because the museum shop is excellent, with VOZ wraps, jewelry, and woven works of art.
Like I said in the Cusco section, Kuna is one of the two family alpaca empires in Peru, and in my opinion, the one with better style. Think Eileen Fisher, but all alpaca (or the luxury cousin vicuña) all the time. There are multiple stores all over Peru, so take your time deciding what you like best — you’ll see another store in Cusco, and the airports.