Paula Delgado of Ound
“Care for the earth, Care for the people, Share the surplus and be aware of limits.” The ethos of permaculture according to Ound designer, Paula Delgado. Our delivery of Ound to the shop looked something like this… soft, squishy wool processed without chemicals and carefully packaged within individual cloth bags. A detailed card outlining the date and place that the piece was created along with some other important information about care. We’re so impressed with Paula’s approach to her crafted line of sweaters so we were especially excited to talk to her about Ound and the philosophy of permaculture behind her line. Read on for the details.
Please tell us about Ound.
Ound is a very personal project and it's an answer to the very wasteful and disrespectful fashion industry where I come from. I am a fashion designer and have worked almost 15 years for big fashion retail. I have seen loads that I do not share at a moral level. The waste, the abuse of people and materials, with the sole purpose of generating money and more money for people who really have too much.
I work from a basis of resources optimization and I only work with that that surrounds me. This is the reason I have chosen to work only with two materials and the idea is to make the most out of them without affecting the planet, respecting the people who work in the process and aiming for a special bond between the garment and the person who wears it.
Ound responds to a personal search, to be able to express all that I stand for and to apply the good things that I have learnt in the fashion industry in a project that makes sense, that is aligned with my values and the way I see the world.
We know that you choose to work with wool and silk. Can you tell us about this decision and about these precious materials? (Sourcing, dyeing, etc.)
Wool and silk are probably the most amazing textile materials, and they complement each other beautifully. Together they enhance their performance in terms of isolation and create a unique feeling of comfort. Mistakenly we believe that comfort has only to do with stretch, but thermal comfort, which is unnoticed, is what makes you feel good.
Feeling good in my pieces is very important for me. I seek to create a relation between the user and the pieces, a bond that ensures an enduring value of it. For me that is the most sustainable way of living. Feeling good and valuing that that surrounds you, whether it is people, clothing or material stuff. You will end up with less but a lot happier.
Plus I am currently living in Uruguay, a small country in South America but a very important wool producer. I have lived here when I was a child with my family for a while and came back two years ago after 25 years in Europe. I was born in Argentina, another great wool producer, and my grandfather was a wool dealer. I have childhood memories of this marvelous material which is somehow rooted in my DNA.
Wool production here is really environmentally friendly, there is a lot of land for the sheep to graze, and the water used in the process is recycled constantly. As I work with undyed wool the only chemical process done to the wool is washing, which is dome with biodegradable soaps.
For the silk I work with pigments made by myself from plants around me and food scraps. This could be quite limiting production wise but they are beautiful and silk is the material that best takes natural dyes. The complexity of the colours in such a beautiful material is fantastic.
Can you walk us through the philosophy of permaculture and how Ound operates compared to a more traditional system that many are familiar with in the fashion world.
Permaculture is primarily a tool for sustainable design that is applied to agriculture but whose ethos can be applied in all design and creative processes.
Broadly speaking, it is about thoughtfully observing nature's patterns and mirroring them in whatever we decide to design. As well is a way of optimizing resources having nature as an ally in order to generate abundance without harming the planet or people. It is about creating beneficial relationships between individual elements.
The ethics in Permaculture are:
Care for the earth, Care for the people, Share the surplus and be aware of limits.
I think these simple concepts are a must nowadays in our harmed world.
Unfortunately fashion has turned over the years into completely the opposite. When working in “traditional fashion” I was shocked with the amount of waste produced. Both over production of garments, waste of ideas by having to change collections seasonally, waste produced by not recyclable materials, like fields and rivers covered in insoluble waste produced by the color industry, and of course the waste of energy in an hysterical industry where nothing makes sense.
This is the reason permaculture works for me as a guideline. It gives me a clearer vision and the moral tranquility of knowing that I am aligned with my values.
What are you excited about- for Ound and for yourself?
I am excited about Italo, my brand new baby boy. I am excited about accompanying him, learning from him and having fun with him. I love the playfulness there is in kids and feel very much inspired about that. I think Italo will inspire me a lot for Ound, to dare and play and enjoy the processes. Which is most important, right? I feel fulfilled if I can get that out of Ound, having a small brand can be a lot of hard work, but to have fun and to get my clients appreciation of my work and product is what I aim for.