Ound was founded by fashion designer, Paula Delgado, with an almost meditative approach and as an alternative to the “broken system” that is fast fashion.
Specialising in botanical dyed scarves and other garments, Paula shares with us her inspiration behind Ound, the process of making her one-of-a-kind silk scarves using hand-foraged plants & flowers, and how she manages to steer completely clear of synthetic dyes and unsustainable practices…
What inspired you to leave fast fashion behind and launch Ound?
I was a fashion designer for two of the largest global fast fashion corporations, and through this my eyes were opened to the harmful nature of the fast fashion industry based on high-speed turnover, overproduction and waste.
After spending several months in rural Argentina and Scotland from 2015 to 2017, I learnt more about wool production, weaving and knitting, and started to teach myself the art of botanical dye. From here I became inspired by the philosophy of permaculture; a holistic design system for creating relations between humans, plants, animals, and the earth.
With Ound, I have translated this passion into a contemporary aesthetic rooted in simplicity and humble luxury. Ound offers an alternative to fast fashion and is based on a thoughtful design process that appreciates the materials and matter, and evolves and matures over time.
Tell us more about the eco-friendly and natural dyes you use.
Our dyeing practice is embedded in the process of working with handmade pigments and botanical dyes, one of the oldest crafts of humankind. Before the invention of synthetic dyes a century ago, people gathered their colours from the lands and the seasons that surrounded them.
At Ound, we dye our garments with handmade pigments extracted from food waste, plants and flowers. This natural technique is our answer to the toxic synthetic dyes of an industry that pollutes and poisons our water streams and soils.
For example, the yellow scarf is made from yellow chamomile. The size of each petal is about 4mm long, these are placed by hand using tweezers to handle each petal individually to create the pattern – 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.
The green scarf uses Fumaria, which is interestingly sometimes used in herbal medicine to treat dermatologic conditions. The black scarf is coloured using Eucalyptus.
What is the method you use to dye and print Ound garments?
The intricate process of naturally dyeing a silk garment takes up to two weeks. First, we forage and collect the dye matter. Then, we prepare the garment to absorb the colour and set up a bath separately to avoid contamination and stains.
Meticulously placed in the bath, the garment is left in the water for as long as it needs to take in the colour, creating its own beautiful patterns of imperfection. The colours obtained in each bath vary in relation to the qualities of the water and the dye matter, connecting each piece to the time and place where it came into being. Afterwards, the colour has to rest for a week to improve its fastness before the garment can then be washed and ironed. Natural colours tend to be pH-sensitive but, if handled with care, colour fastness is as good as industrially-dyed garments.
All Ound botanical dyed scarves are one-of-a-kind and can only be made in limited editions due to the dyeing process, which means there are literally no two scarves the same! This craftsmanship allows the owner to establish an emotional bond with their garment, knowing it’s the only one like it in the world.