You might have noticed that we've been a little obsessed with natural indigo this season at tonlé. Historically, people around the world have turned to indigo as one of the only natural sources of this coveted color. Blue jeans were originally made with natural indigo, but as textile production industrialized, the vast majority of manufacturers turned to more predictable and fail safe chemical dyes. However, these chemical dyes have failed us in one major way: they are destroying our planet and precious water resources. (For more information on this topic, we highly recommend giving the film River Blue a watch!) 

That's why we were so excited to experiment with traditional indigo dyes this season. We were able to find a local organization farming the plant in Cambodia, but the process has not been without it's setbacks. We're excited to announce though, we've finally got some great naturally indigo dyed pieces up on our site.

Here are a few pictures of the process. Indigo changes color through an oxidation process, which is why many cultures considered it magic and even sacred. The indigo dye vat is green, and upon contact with the air, the color starts to turn to blue! It takes about an hour before the freshly dyed pieces become fully blue. 

Naturally dyed indigo garment drying

naturally dying garments with indigo

fabric naturally dyed with indigo hanging to dry

As these pieces are completely made with natural materials (we use pickling lime and palm sugar to set the dye) they need to be treated with care. Please wash these garments in cold water, separately from other items, with gentle, PH neutral soap. (Shampoo actually works well in a pinch!)  You may notice a little blue coming out into the water - this is normal and will not happen after a couple of washes. We recommend hang drying instead of machine drying, though this is more of recommendation to preserve our planet. Please do not hang dry these garments in direct sunlight - this can cause excessive fading. A small amount of fading over time can occur - this is normal and adds to the beauty. Think of them like your favorite pair of blue jeans, but made with only plant based materials from mother nature. 

A few of our products featuring natural indigo dye: 

Srey Long Vest - Chambray

handwoven zero waste naturally indigo dyed kaftan

Basic kaftan - indigo

basic zero waste kaftan naturally dyed with indigo

Basic t-shirt dress - blue dip-dye 

naturally dip dyed basic t-shirt dress made with natural indigo

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 05, 2018 by Rachel Faller

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