We found in Uruguay amazing merino ponchos made according to ancestral traditions by an artisan called Hugo
My name is Laura Febo and I would like to tell you about our merino ponchos.
With my boyfriend Ale (Alessandro), we created Alau in 2017 in Colombia. We first started to sell in Uruguay where Ale comes from. We were in a few boutiques in Punta del Este and we were taking part in fashion events. Our best client was a famous governor from Argentina.
While we were in Uruguay we met Hugo and the love story with his products started.
Story of Hugo
Hugo starts weaving at the age of 16 and never stopped since then. 50 years later, he has a small boutique in Uruguay on the Atlantic coast. He meets every summer his loyal clients from the US and Argentina. He loves his job and his priority is a simple life without problems. Some designers from New-York offered him to buy 200 ponchos for their collection but Hugo said no. Exporting is complicated and he doesn’t want any preoccupations. He prefers his pleasant life with his 2 dogs and his small boutique near the ocean.
How did we meet Hugo?
We were with some friends in Punta del Este for the week-end before Alau was born. One day we arrive in a small village where there is a lot of wind (very common in Uruguay). After taking a picture in front of the lighthouse we visit the small boutiques nearby. I step in Hugo’s boutique and it is love at first sight. This shop is everything I love: beautiful material, great artisan working with his hands, and amazing ponchos. I start to try the ponchos but my friends are already in the car and I have to leave. I am very disappointed.
Ale meets Hugo
I always remembered Hugo’s ponchos. It is 4 months later after creating Alau in Colombia that we go back to Montevideo (the capital city of Uruguay). When we go to Punta del Este, I supplicate Ale to come with me to discover Hugo’s products. He finally agrees and comes with me to meet Hugo. It is love at first sight again, Ale remains fascinated with Hugo’s character and lifestyle. He is very calm and nice. We talk about meditation and Hugo says that he would like to start. Ale laughs and tells him that every time he knits he is meditating.
Our collaboration with Hugo
When we go back to Hugo’s boutique we tell him that we are starting a brand called Alau. Our values totally match with his ponchos and we ask him if he would like to collaborate with us. At first, he doesn’t seem very happy with the idea. We tell him that we can wait until the end of the summer (high season for him). I design the models in collaboration with Hugo. A few months later the 4 models are ready and I am very excited to see them. My favorite model is on the picture, it is a poncho with fringes everywhere.
5 facts about our ponchos :
- They are handmade by Hugo with the crochet technique
- The merino wool is 100% Uruguayan
- Our artisan has 50 years of experience
- The wool is characterized by extreme softness
- Hugo dies the wool with natural pigments
Creation of the merino ponchos
Hugo buys the merino wool in bulk. When he receives the wool, he dies it with natural pigments like marcela tea for example. He then forms the wool thread with a loom (ancestral machine that was used by our great grand-mothers). He takes the 2 wool threads and weaves with the crochet technique. He needs more than one day to dye the wool, make the wool thread and weave the poncho. Each poncho is handmade with love by Hugo.
This is the crazy story of Hugo and his merino ponchos. The collection is very limited because hugo has only 2 hands!