Santa Isabel is Gabriela’s 17,000-acre certified sheep and cattle ranch in the Paysandu region of Uruguay. Wool farming has been in her family for six generations, continuing with Gabriela after her father bequeathed her the ranch when he passed away in 2011. She grew up there and now oversees it with the help of foreman Sebastián Forti, making the 24-hour journey from New York several times a year. “It’s a place where I bring my family to center them, and also so they can understand, as I did growing up, where things come from and how we belong to nature and nature does not belong to us,” says Gabriela.
Merino wool shorn from the ranch’s sheep has always been wholesaled, but Gabriela didn’t consider using it for her own collection until her husband Austin suggested that, in addition to being luxury-grade, the wool strengthened her values of sustainability, traceability and authentic luxury. It’s now used in her men’s and women’s suiting. “My father had a dream. The ranch was his dream,” she says. “Making clothes is my dream. Using wool from my ranch is mixing these dreams together.”