Uruguayan Wool to the World

Gabriela Hearst, ambassador of the Uruguayan wool

Hearst founded its eponymous brand in 2015 dedicated to incorporating sustainable production into its collections, which today is consolidated as a luxury brand with an international client base.


Connected to her origins, the Uruguayan-born designer, who lives in New York, spent her childhood in the family ranch Santa Isabel in Paysandú with an outstanding sense of belonging to a family dedicated to the production of merino wool.

For Hearst, her origins are an intrinsic part of her brand, “It’s something very special to be born in Uruguay, you can look back and realize that it may not be something exotic, but it offers a very specific point of view.”

Committed to sustainability, Hearst incorporates about 30 percent of dead fabrics to create its clothing, reuses unsold items from previous seasons, and integrates merino wool from the family estate inherited from its parents into its designs.

Hearst’s philosophy is similar to that of Manos del Uruguay, its alliance reflects the commitment to know every detail of the process of creating the garment, from the sheep from which the wool comes, to the selection of the yarns and needles to be used. Both brands transmit the benefits of natural fibers, as well as the respect for nature, elements that lead to the creation of durable and special garments with a strong Uruguayan imprint.

Ound, a brand with a sustainable philosophy

As reported in the renowned Vogue magazine, Prelude was launched in early October, a website that features more than a dozen international designers with an on-demand or pre-order system to reduce waste, support sustainable fashion and re-educate the buyer towards more environmentally friendly choices.

“For the first time in a long time, I was able to think about how I could take this message of what we are doing, which is soft and reflective clothing, and connect with the person who actually wears it, and strengthen that connection between the designer and the customer,” explains Lucianne Tonti, creator of Prelude and sustainable fashion consultant.

The Uruguayan enterprise Ound participates in the site by offering naturally dyed silk dresses as well as sweaters and undyed wool cardigans made by a group of women in Uruguay. As expressed on its website Ound “is inspired by the philosophy of permaculture, a holistic design system to create harmonious relationships between humans, plants, animals and the Earth, which translates into a contemporary aesthetic rooted in simplicity and humble luxury”.

Uruguayan wool in New York homes

Sustainable home furnishing and decoration brand The Citizenry launched its fall collection called The Warmth of Home, which features the work of 1,197 artisans from six countries.

The collection ranges from hand-woven rugs, leather pouffes and a headboard, to palm baskets and woven pillows, including a luxurious merino wool blanket from free-range sheep living on a family farm operated by Artesanos de Las Moras in Uruguay. Other textiles include the Celeste Chunky Wool Throw, which is the first wool product produced in collaboration between The Citizenry and a group of 10 Uruguayan artisans based in the countryside.

Based on original notes from El Observador, Manos del Uruguay; Vogue and Forbes.

Photo: Manos del Uruguay products at London Design Fair 2019