Creating a beautiful colour palette for each collection is one of my priorities as a designer of ethical & sustainable clothing. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to quality dyed fabric and I want each shade to be subtle and natural. The only way to create nature-inspired hues is to plant dye and while it’s a long process, it most definitely has stunning results.
I work with a small, dedicated team In Bali who use indigenous plants to create earthy pigments and dyes. The entire process is eco-friendly and organic and it’s fascinating to watch.
As soon as you walk into the studio you notice the strong scent of the leaves slowly fermenting. It’s an essential part of the dye process; an ancient technique that is gentle on the fabric and kind to the earth.
The entire dye process takes a little over a week and begins with the collecting of leaves from the studio’s plantation. The leaves are chopped and then immersed in water that boils for six hours until the dye is ready. The fabric is dip-dyed for an hour before it’s washed and this process - dip-dyeing and then washing - is repeated between six to ten times to create the desired colour.
Of course, there are pros and cons to every part of the design and manufacturing journey and plant dyeing is no different. The dye process is slow and unpredictable. We get more variation in colour which can create unique and charming colour for a few pieces and not-so-ideal shades on others. But this is all part of the sacrifice a brand must make when we opt to design sustainable clothing with a conscience. And I know that so many of my customers appreciate this effort and the unique, earth-friendly clothing they get to wear as a result.
I’m excited to show you some of the hand tie-dyed pieces (as well as plant-dyed basics and bamboo underwear) that are coming for spring/summer. Stay tuned.
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