The former president and CEO of Cotton Incorporated Nick Hahn has launched a company called Alpaca United to promote the North American alpaca industry.

Speaking to just-style at ITMA today (22 September), he said that the start-up formed in March, but the company's website is set to launch in the "next few days".

Hahn said the website will be broken down into two silos - a consumer site that will cover trends and the fashion side, and an industry site which will cover technical aspects.

It is also working with the North Carolina State University's College of Textiles to set up an R&D base on the campus.

The group is looking to push alpaca as a luxury fibre on par with cashmere. "We see our biggest competition in cashmere," he said.

The company, which bridges the gap between profit and non-profit, is working to create a market for the US alpaca industry, which at the moment is largely thought of as Peruvian, he added.

Hahn said that there are currently some 4,000 farmers that are viable commercial alpaca producers in North America, and that these farmers form the core of the group's investment base.