Hi! Thank you for being a part of our universe.
We are very happy that you want to know more about your ound piece of clothing. We create our garments with a lot of care, and we are very passionate about telling the story behind them.
Honesty and transparency are essential values to us - and much needed ones in the textile industry. Our project is based on a thoughtful design practice in which appreciation of materials and optimization of resources are essential, being conscious of the impact that fashion has on the planet. As a way of expanding this awareness, we wanted to share the relevance of the people, materials and decisions behind each piece we craft, which is what ultimately makes all the difference.
We hope that knowing the story behind your ound piece of clothing brings you a little closer to your garment, because we really believe that connecting to our clothes is one of the most beautiful and sustainable things we can do. If you have any doubts or want to know even more about some aspect, write to us and we’ll gladly get in contact.
Enjoy your ound piece!
Why we choose to work with wool
Sheep breeding is the oldest organised industry in the world, which started approximately 10.000 years ago in Asia. This means that wool has been used to create garments for thousands of years.
Wool is a great, environmental- friendly fibre. It’s natural and renewable, since it naturally grows in sheep every season after shearing them. Sheep need to be sheared to be healthy. They grow their wool in winter as a protection from low temperatures, but being a domesticated species, they don’t lose their wool naturally. For that reason once a year it is necessary to cut it to avoid infections, vision problems, obstructions in the urinary tract, excessive heat or the difficulty or impossibility of getting up due to the weight of the wool.
Wool is also biodegradable, meaning that at the end of its useful life it can be returned to the soil, where it decomposes in a very short time. Therefore, if it is not treated with chemicals or combined with polyester, wool is a circular material.
In addition, wool is an amazing fibre to wear. The unique structure of the wool allows it to absorb and release moisture making it an extremely breathable material, as opposed to synthetic fibres, which usually makes you sweat and keep moisture on the body. Wool even absorbs the odour molecules from sweat, so you won’t smell bad. Wool is also a natural insulator, regulating the temperature of the body, and this is why it can be used in cold as well as in hot climates: it helps you stay warm when the weather is cold and cool when the weather is hot. Moreover, wool is hypoallergenic and has a naturally high level of UV protection, which is perfect for the human skin, even the most sensitive one.
Wool is naturally elastic too, and so garments made with this fibre are comfortable and resistant to wrinkling. Finally, wool picks up less dust as it’s naturally anti-static and has a self- cleaning ability. It has a natural protective outer layer that prevents stains from being absorbed. This means wool products don’t need to be washed (unless they are severely stained) making it a lot easier to take care of them.
Where our wool comes from
Our hand-knitted pieces are made in Uruguay, South America, a small country with a high-quality production of wool and wool craftsmanship. Uruguay is one of the main suppliers of wool globally. Its mild climate and natural rolling pastures make it perfect for farming outdoors. There are approximately 20.000 farms with sheep, and the sheep population was 6.33 million in 2020 - twice the amount of the human population of the country. Most of the farms are small and owned by families that have been in the industry for generations.
The most popular sheep breeds in Uruguay are Merino and Corriedale. We use natural and undyed wool, embracing its natural colours: the Ivory tone comes from the Merino breed and the Earth tone from the Corriedale breed. We create different colour shades by mixing them in the spinning process, which give us the Cube and Stone tones. The sheep breeds also determine the diameter of the wool, which is mainly produced between 20 and 32 microns for the garment industry. Extra fine Merino wool goes from 16.5 to 20 microns, and this is the one we choose: a softer, higher quality and more resistant fibre.
Uruguayan wool is animal friendly: no sheeps are injured in collecting the wool, and the practice of mulesing is banned. The country is also part of the International Wool Textile Organization and follows a strict protocol for animal welfare, which provides the basis for sheep farming in the best possible conditions. This includes an appropriate diet for a correct level of nutrition; facilities for comfort, rest, stimulation and socialisation; avoiding situations of physical pain, injury and disease; and avoiding conditions of fear, distress and mental suffering.
After shearing, the wool needs to be thoroughly washed and carded before we can use it to knit. These processes are carried out by Lanas Trinidad, the main producer and exporter of scoured wool and combed wool tops in Uruguay. The process of washing the wool is called scouring. This is an essential step to remove grease, dust and dirt from the fibre. Lanas Trinidad uses 100% rainwater to wash the wool, collected through a dam, and the detergents and additives used for this are organic and biodegradable. This is the only chemical process done to our wool garments, and is a completely natural one, which is very important to us. At the end of the process, water is filtered through a natural process involving anaerobic lagoons that makes it available for irrigation of trees and forage. Ultimately this water is filtered by the tree's roots and put back into the rich underground water system of Uruguay.
As a result of the scouring process, clean wool and wool grease are obtained. Wool grease is a natural byproduct, extracted by centrifuge machines, that is later refined to obtain lanolin, a kind material used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for creams and beauty products. Once washed, clean wool is carded and combed, which basically means that it goes through different mechanical processes which straighten and align the fibres and remove the vegetable matter, until a unified fibre, able to be spun, is obtained. Shorter fibres (called Noils or Blousse) get discarded in this process, but they’re not considered waste: they are gathered and used for making other kinds of non woven textiles, such as felt, wadding and felted hats among others. The wool combing process also generates a solid residue composed of small pieces of fibre, dust, and water, known as wool dust. This is an excellent biofertilizer, which improves the soil structure by helping plant roots grow and also enhances soil health.
The process to obtain our wool is very clean and also zero-waste, as every part of it is used in some way. We are committed to using materials that come from responsible sources, that’s why we choose to work with Lanas Trinidad, who has been accredited with diverse certifications such as GOTS (Organic textile certification) by Ecocert, RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) by Textile Exchange, and NATIVA by Chargeurs. Also, 95% of the electrical energy that Lanas Trinidad uses comes from natural and renewable sources, such as biomass, solar panels, wind farms and hydroelectric dams.
Creating our hand- knitted pieces
We design our wool pieces in our studio, taking inspiration from the things that surround us. We like to create from what we already have, taking vintage pieces or our own garments as a starting point, until they naturally evolve into a new design. Playing with different stitches and proportions to create pieces that are comfortable and rich in texture, visually and tactilely, is an essential part of this process. This involves a lot of dialogue with the artisans who knit the pieces. In fact, hand- knitting involves a lot of calculations and decisions that affect the structure of the garment. It's not just your grandmother sitting on the sofa and knitting you a woollen pullover; it’s about exploring different tensions and different needles in each part of the garment, moving the stitches until finding the perfect recipe to obtain and maintain the shape. It is like architecture of clothing; what we mean by saying our pieces are knitted to perfection.
Our garments are hand- knitted by a group of independent female artisans led by Gabriella, an incredible knitter who is also a physics teacher. Her background can be seen in the perfection of the garments: she pours all of her knowledge and calculations into the pieces she develops. Most of the female artisans who work with us live in Santa Lucía, a small city in the countryside of Uruguay, and they work from their homes. Each of our hand- knitted garments takes three to five days to be crafted.
Knitting in itself is a zero- waste process, since the knitted fabric is created with the exact shape of the pattern, which means that the fabric is generated in the same knitting process, without cuttings. Also, we reuse every small bit of thread that we have for sewing the pieces of the garment together or as a part of the packaging. Finally, our pieces are finished in our studio, where we take care of details such as putting the labels and preparing the packaging. We try to develop the packaging using materials that we already have in- house and making designs that can also be reusable, as a way to avoid creating extra waste. We use deadstock fabrics or repurposed materials and collaborate with other local circular projects to achieve a packaging that protects the pieces as it is useful and has a positive impact on the environment and the society.
If you wish to know even more about some aspect of our wool pieces, write to us and we'll be happy to get in touch.
Why we choose to work with natural dyes
Natural dyeing is one of the oldest crafts, dating more than 5.000 years back. Before modern synthetic dyes existed, all textiles were dyed with plants, bugs and fungi. Nowadays, synthetic dyes are widely used and natural dyeing has become a not so common practice; however, for us, it’s a response to a super polluting industry. Textile production creates 20% of the global industrial water pollution, being the second largest water polluting industry. Every year approximately 9 trillion gallons of synthetic dye chemicals are dumped into global waterways, something that is extremely difficult to filter out.
Simply put, the dying process in the textile industry is one of the most contaminating; that's why we choose to use a technique that is kind with nature. We use pigments extracted from food waste and plants that grow on our surroundings - such as avocado skins and pits, fig leaves, onion skins, pomegranate, red cabbage, eucalyptus and loquat leaves - and then we give them back to nature as compostable matters, without using any chemical products. Also, contrary to artificial dyes that are full of heavy metals which are absorbed into our skin without us knowing, natural dyes bring a lot of benefits and good side effects to our bodies: they are non-allergenic, with relaxing and therapeutic properties.
Natural dyeing is one of the oldest crafts, and as such, respects the necessary times and rhythms of nature. The colours achieved depend on the time of the year the matter is collected and of the quality of the water; this is why the results are always different, connecting each piece to the time and place where it came into being. During springtime colours tend to be more vivid as the plants are brimming with sap; but there are other plants - that we think are common and available all year round - like onions that do not have skin during spring, and therefore not available for colouring. This notion sets us in tune with the cycles of the plants and the cycles of life. We live very closely to the cycles of our dye plants and the reflection of climate in them, and we learnt to understand it.
We do not buy any natural dyes from far away. We craft all the colour we use from things that surround us, and we even plant trees to potentially use their matter in the future, like the avocado trees or fig trees we have in our garden. Fig leaves release an amazing bright yellow dye and the scent stays on the garment after years of having been dyed, and avocado pits leave a beautiful pink tone; however, the trees take five years to produce the first fruit and need another tree nearby to pollinate. So, as you can see, we can’t rush nature, and we try to work with what we already have. We also get a lot of tree clipping from neighbours and sometimes fallen trees in storms. This is the matter we use to dye our pieces, returning to the notion that abundance is around us, we only have to be able to see it.
Why we choose to work with silk
We use silk because it’s a natural and very high quality fibre that works perfectly together with wool, enhancing its performance in terms of isolation and creating a unique feeling of comfort. Silk is of the strongest natural fibres although it has a smooth, soft and light texture. Unfortunately we are not able to work with sustainable certified silk yet due to its high cost. The resulting garment would be so expensive that it would be completely unaffordable. We realise that it is not always possible to do 100% sustainable practices, but we are doing as much as we can - which is quite a bit - and we are on our way to be fully sustainable in a - hopefully - near future. We use only 2 types of silk fabrics, 100% silk creppe de chine and 100% twill. Two structures that allow us to create a lot with very limited resources. This aspect is very important to us as our practice is based on the optimization of materials, an answer to the fashion industry, in which resources are squandered by using infinite fabrics to make a collection that is shown for a very limited time span.
We get our 100% silk pieces made in ready- to- dye fabric, which gives us the flexibility to dye among requests. Garment- dying practices are often done in the denim industry, to reduce the wastage of dyed fabric, to be able to respond to the market colour demand and to avoid having left over stock. We found this was the best practice for us as each of the pieces are dyed in- house and with the elements available at the time. This way we ensure there’s no waste and every piece is dyed with a purpose. We like to use the best of what we have learnt working over fifteen years in the fashion industry and apply it to our project.
Creating our naturally dyed pieces
Fabrics need to be mordanted before dying. That means preparing the fabric with a substance that will allow it to absorb and fixate the colour. The kind of mordant we use will depend on the fabric we are going to dye: we use alum if we are dyeing protein fibres (like silk) and self- made soy milk if we are dyeing cellulose fibres (like cotton or linen). The process of mordanting, especially if it’s the one with self- made soy milk, can take up to a few days in which the fabric needs to rest in the substance before it’s finally ready to be dyed.
After the mordanting process is finished we make the dye bath. We gather the dye matter and put it in a cooking pot with water, until it starts to release colour. We strain it, and we put it in a bigger cooking pot with more water. Then we submerge the garment and leave it there, moving it constantly, until it reaches the colour we are looking for. This process varies a little depending on what fibre we are dyeing: cotton and linen pieces need boiling water while silk can only be submerged in lower temperatures, so that the fibre is not damaged.
Once the garment has absorbed the dye, the piece must rest for a week before it’s washed and ironed, to improve the colour fastness - this means its resistance to fading. Sometimes the result colour is not exactly what we were expecting, and then we dye the garment again, until we reach the perfect shade. And sometimes the dye process leaves unexpected traces in the garments, like little prints. We like to keep these perfect imperfections as they are part of the magic and true beauty of natural dyeing.
For the natural printed pieces we forage local wild flowers such as Fumaria and Cota Tinctoria during spring and early summer. These pieces are a very limited edition as the wild flowers are available for a really short time span. Their blooming time is very much related to each year's weather: how much has it rained, if it has been cold or hot, etc. These flowers are essential in our ecosystems because they attract butterflies, bees and other pollinating insects, and they are very resistant and resilient, since they grow freely by themselves. However, we must be careful to collect only a small percentage of a plant's population, for them to be reborn in the coming season.
Printing with flower petals is a very delicate process. We individually place the fresh flower petals on the scarf to create a pattern. The size of each petal is about 0,3 cm long, having to handle each petal individually with tweezers, then we make a bundle and the colour of the fresh flower is transferred into the fabric by applying steam to it – a labour of love to obtain the pure essence and delicacy of nature. The irregularity of the patterns achieved with this artisanal process makes each piece unique and beautiful.
Naturally dyed pieces usually maintain their colour for a long time; however, colour alterations could happen because of the pH of sweat or the pH of the soap used in washing. Normally they return to their natural state when washed with neutral pH soap. Natural colours are very resistant but you have to take precautions, such as not exposing them to sunlight for long hours.
If you have any questions regarding the care of natural colours, please do not hesitate to contact us.
THE REPURPOSED ANTIQUE BED LINEN
Why we choose to work with repurposed antique fabrics
For a long time we have been collecting vintage fabric pieces being aware of the high quality of their materials and craftsmanship. At the beginning of last century things used to be done in a timely manner, the textile industry was at its beginnings and machinery was more respectful to materials; they had a slower pace. Nowadays machines go super fast (time is money in production) stressing out the fibres to be able to process them in the fastest way possible, weakening the resulting material.
We like to reclaim these pieces and their stories, bringing them back to use and giving them a whole new significance. We source beautiful vintage cotton and linen bed fabrics (fabrics that are not made today) from flea markets and auction houses, as well as from the places we visit while travelling, and carefully repurpose them into new garments: dresses, blouses, jackets, skirts and trousers with special details.
That’s how we developed a great bond with María - a sweet lady that sells antique bed linens in Tristán Narvaja, a well known flea market that takes place in the centre of Montevideo, Uruguay. She has been collecting and selling pieces for more than twenty years, so she has great knowledge on the matter, and always saves the most beautiful pieces for us.
We are speciaIly fond of vintage fabrics that are embroidered. In the past people would develop skills such as hand embroidery to elevate materials: our grandmothers used to develop and embroider their own trousseau, and so the textiles of their homes were created with love and to last a lifetime. They were a precious treasure, and as such, they were given special care and relevance. We make sure that the fabrics are in good condition and they will stand a lot of wear, and we make sure to thoughtfully use them in order to enhance their details, creating unique pieces for every fabric we collect.
Once the design of the piece is ready, Carmen - the seamstresses we work with - sews it very carefully at her home. She has been sewing her whole life and is an expert in working with delicate materials. When she finishes, the piece comes back to our studio, where we hand dyed it naturally. We choose to dye the pieces on- demand due to the limited stock of vintage fabrics we have, making sure to colour them in the specific way that the user has imagined.
By the end of the process we have connected with the pieces in a new way, highlighting its details. For example, antique fabrics are more “uneven” than modern fabrics because the yarns are not perfect, simply because technology was different. We love to see how irregularities are highlighted by natural dyes when they come out of the dying pot, creating perfectly imperfect patterns available only through this artisanal process.
We also respect little holes and time marks on the fabrics as they are a witness of their previous lives, without compromising the quality of the garment. We aspire to give these fabrics the opportunity to create a whole new story that will accompany their new owner, instead of being discarded or put away for ever.
If there's more you would like to know about our repurposed pieces or about our garments and processes in general, please write us to firstname.lastname@example.org, we would love to talk about it.
We believe that sustainable practices are also those that bring us closer to other people, sharing ideas and resources to create better things. Collaborations are an essential part of ound, both in the creation of garments and packaging. This way we are able to create new and inspiring things without wasting resources, exchanging skills and abilities. Also, this allows us to learn about other projects, their creative and production processes, enriching our universe with new knowledge.
We have collaborated with Temple Estudio from Uruguay, Zubi from Spain, 11:11 from USA, BUNON from Japan and Mare Sustentable from Uruguay. We would love to keep collaborating with new projects, so if you have an idea, please let us know.
And always, get in touch!! We love chatting, sharing ideas, recipes, getting to know each other....