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Wilden.herbals meets / An interview with Paola Barzanò

Our Wilden.fabrics collection expands with new products. Respect for the environment and the desire to transmit the energy of nature characterize the new textile accessories by Paola Barzanò, architect, artist and master of natural colors.

Starting from traditions, observing and then experimenting to move towards a sustainable future: this is the philosophy outlined by Paola Barzanò, bio-architect and teacher of Color Science and Sustainability at Polimoda in Florence, who collaborates with us at Wilden. You may, in fact, have already recognized this name if you had read the articles dedicated to our first collaboration or on her working method.

Today we chatted with Paola Barzanò to learn more about the ideas and methodology that guided her in the design of the new textile accessories that we previewed at the Rinascente Milan pop-up store and which you can now find in our online shop.

To highlight the evolution of the new Wilden.fabrics products there is a precise choice of colors.

Yes ! It is always about colors from natural pigments. These are colors that I experimented with in the course of a new research. Because you never stop discovering the beauty of the colors that come from nature.

You must know that synthetic colors are young compared to the history of colors: the first synthetic molecules were discovered in the second half of the nineteenth century. And before? Over the centuries, there were only natural colors before!

Through natural colors we recover a link between nature and the human being. We perceive natural colors in a profound way as we recognize them as something that belongs to us biologically.

This choice has a strong impact: emotional and environmental.

Emotional because everything that comes from nature creates a strong and vibrant bond.

Environmental because choosing these colors means making a sustainable choice.

Natural colors come from renewable resources or waste and, unlike synthetic colors, they do not come from fossil sources. Water and energy for dyeing are used sparingly. This path leads to the creation of a sustainable product.

Materials, colors and process: how did these new textile accessories come to be?

Let’s start with the materials: organic cotton, hemp and linen, materials of our textile tradition with cutting-edge performance of resistance and thermoregulation and affinity with natural colors.

For the dyeing we first prepare the fabrics to receive the color through a bath with tannins and salts, which is called mordanting. The extraction of the color takes place mainly by decoction. The etched material is therefore immersed in the color bath and then dyed with specific times and temperatures according to the different colors. It is a very ancient process that dates back to prehistoric times. From colors of mineral origin to colors of vegetable origin, the human kind has an inherent need to surround himself with color and beauty.

Tell us about your relationship with this approach to colors.

I started using natural colors many years ago and have never stopped. It is a constantly evolving field, which was once a niche and now finally has a wider range of interest, even in the industrial field.

Research is always active, also through constant discussion through an international network of friends and colleagues. Even the fashion industry today is starting to use resources dedicated to the research and development of new technologies that go in this direction.

How do your creations connect with Wilden’s world?

Our philosophy is the same: we must investigate our traditions, rediscover them and update them to bring them into the future. It is a way of working that binds me deeply to Wilden: recovering the techniques of the past to use them in a contemporary context.