Portuguese wool: sustainable craftmanship
We source our luxurious wool from a small factory, hidden in the mountains of Serra Da Estrela in Central-Portugal. This is the region where Laure from Ida&Volta moved to 1 year ago and works out of her off-grid studio. Step by step, she is connecting with the local wool heritage and traditional expertise that is still alive in these mountains.
Respect for humans and animals alike
The sheep are herded in these mountains, where they roam every day, accompanied by local sheep herders and their loyal dogs. None of the sheep that provide this beautiful wool, have spent a life in captivity, hurray to that! The factory employs and educates locals, and does projects with Portuguese designers to bring the traditional craft into the future. As everyone relies for their livelihoods on the surrounding mountain ecosystem, Burel takes its responsibility to care for the natural resources very seriously.
Why we work with Burel factory
Burel factory ticks all our boxes!! We have never worked with a textile supplier that is so hands-on involved in each and every step of the production process. Authenticity makes them stand out: they know and love their product and its history through and through.
The wool textiles result from a short and transparent production chain that is easily traceable. The majority of the wool is bought from local mountain shepherds, and some of it from sheep farmers in the Alentejo region of Portugal (as they have different breeds, like merino).
Burel history, an inspiring example of how to re-value traditional heritage in times of mass consumption
“economy for the people, not people for the economy” – Isabel Costa
Burel Factory founders Isabel Costa and João Tomás discovered the wool plant in the hills of Serra Da Estrela in 2006. In the nineties the factory had its glory days as a large wool supplier to luxury brands. But, as mass consumption and globalisation took over the fashion industry, the factory struggled with buyers pushing prices lower and lower, yet demanding the same quality as before. In 2005, with the onsets of the economic crisis, this resulted in the factory closing down, leaving many locals without an income.
Isabel and João set out on a mission to restore the factory and rehire some of the wool masters to keep the traditional wool expertise alive and pass on the craft to younger generations. Having a keen eye for quality and craftsmanship, the founders strongly believe in an “economy for the people, not people for the economy”, as Isabel beautifully describes it. In direct support of local farmers and shepherds, and always in respect of the surrounding ecosystem.
The factory buys the wool after the dust has been washed out of it and does the carding, spinning and weaving of the yarns all in-house using ancient mechanical machines.
A glimpse into our future collaboration
IDA&VOLTA is working out designs that take sustainability to the extreme: chemically untreated, non-dyed natural textiles. As sheep come in all kinds of colors, together with Burel’s wool master, we are working on creating different natural shades that are as friendly to your skin as they are to the mountain rivers, as no chemicals or dyes will be involved.
Wool is a fiber that does not need to be washed often. Air it out in between wears and you will last a long time before needing to wash it.
Your garment can also be washed in a washing machine, please turn it inside out and wash on a gentle, short cycle. Use a natural mild detergent.