Annie Hurlbut, founder of Peruvian Connection,
introduces her artisan apparel for nomads and romantics
Words Eve Herbert
Since my first trip to Peru 40 years ago, Peruvian Connection has built lasting relationships with textile artisans and cottage industries. Today they continue to work in concert with Peruvian Connection’s world class designers, melding time-tested methods with thoroughly modern designs and imaginative colour palettes. And while Peru and its inimitable textile traditions are Peruvian Connection’s primary muse, global ethnographic influences leave their mark season after season.
It all started with a sweater I bought in a Peruvian marketplace for my mom’s 50th birthday back in 1976. I was spending a year in Peru doing anthropological research on women in Andean markets. At Mom’s birthday lunch the sweater was such a hit that one of her friends suggested we import them for the US market.
My mom and I were always the best of friends, so we just said ‘why not?’. We were partners until she died in 2007. In 2013 we opened our store on Kings Road, but we’ve been in the UK for just over 20 years. Chelsea provides the perfect setting for us.
We describe our collections as “artisan apparel for nomads and romantics” and our collections appeal to creative individuals with diverse tastes.
We work primarily with two of the world’s most luxurious natural fibres, both native to Peru: alpaca and Peruvian pima cotton. Our luxury knitwear collections are complemented by a range of luxe woven alpaca outerwear and jackets, gorgeous original prints on silk and pima cotton jersey, a bestselling collection of motorcycle jeans and unique, handcrafed accessories ranging from statement necklaces and fur felt hats to snuggly legwarmers.
Our collections change completely from one season to the next; this year we’re introducing a new range of stretch velvet jeans.
The employment we provide Andean artisans is truly the gold standard of the importing industry. We’ve worked with most of our suppliers for upwards of 20 years and many for more than 30 years, which means that knitters are assured steady employment in safe, healthy environments; and cottage industries can grow their businesses.