Pourquoi revient-on à la teinture végétale ?

Why are we going back to natural dyes?


More than a trend, natural dyeing is part of a real move towards truly responsible fashion. This way of dyeing clothes is not new, however. It is even an ancestral know-how, made invisible in favor of synthetic and industrial methods, yet often dangerous for humans and ecosystems. For our latest collection, natural dye returns to Kind Studio. This is an opportunity to take a look on this almost forgotten process.

A brief history of natural dyes

The first traces of vegetable dye date back approximately 5000 years. Some archaeological excavations have uncovered fragments of colored fabrics, probably with the help of plants, insects or fungi. During Antiquity, natural dyeing was a real know-how. After all… It was the only way to dye a textile!
In the Middle Ages, vegetable dyes spread in Europe, particularly in Italy, France and Germany. The madder (plant offering the famous red of the French military uniforms of the 19th and beginning of the 20th) is even seen recommended by Charlemagne.
From the 18th century, dyes of mineral origin made their appearance and offered lines of scientific reflection on synthetic dyeing processes. Little by little, the vegetable dye is replaced by this one: less expensive, easier to reproduce in mass and more reliable. But also ecologically and socially disastrous. The industrial revolution marked the death of natural dyes, which gradually became invisible… Until today!
That said, there are some countries where the vegetable dye method has continued to be transmitted and maintained, considered a real craftsmanship to be preserved.

India, specialist in natural dyes

In India, for hundreds of years, plants like indigo*, madder, turmeric and henna have been used to create patterns and colors on natural fabrics like cotton, silk or linen . 
Today, India is taking up the challenge of semi-industrializing the process of natural textile dyeing, while respecting this know-how. Respectful of the environment and human beings, vegetable dyeing is to be looked at closely.
*You have certainly heard of indigo. Originally, indigo comes from Indigofera, from the bean family. True indigo is a vegetable dye and not a synthetic coloring process.

The return of natural dyes

Over the last few years, vegetable dyeing has timidly - but surely - regained visibility: customers are concerned about the ecological impact of petrochemical-based dyes and their impact on skin and health, fashion brands are taking up the challenge of offering vegetable-dyed clothing lines, and the value of ancestral know-how is once again taking pride of place. And with good reason...
The dyes used in synthetic dyes contain heavy metals, formaldehyde and phthalates, among others, which can affect the health of those who produce these garments, as well as those who wear them: endocrine disruptors, increased risk of cancer and other major long-term impacts. As far as the environment is concerned, some 50,000 tonnes of products are discharged into the environment every year, massively polluting waterways and destroying ecosystems. These are just a few examples. In reality, the consequences of using synthetic dyes are disastrous all along the chain. For a better understanding of the impact of synthetic dyes on life, the River Blue document is an excellent source.

A truly responsible know-how

A natural dye

Vegetable dyeing is a 100% natural textile dyeing method: from plants, fruits and minerals, concoctions will produce certain colors, which will be used to dye textiles. The ingredients used are biodegradable and therefore not harmful to the environment.
The colors range from browns to blues through pinks, yellows or reds. For example, this season, several of our models are made in an organic cotton canvas, dyed in a color called Brazil Brown. Made from Madder (the plant we were talking about above) as well as a flower native to India, called Woodfordia Fruticosa, and an addition of iron and sea salt.
The color palette may seem less vibrant than with chemical dyes, but it still offers a very wide range of exploration. By combining ingredients or dosages and according to their use on different types of textiles or in printing, vegetable dyes offer beautiful results.
When we choose a colorway, we don't know what the exact result will be. This can vary from material to material, especially since vegetable dye is less predictable than chemical dye. Our role as a designer? Knowing how to adapt to the material and the result of the dyeing, not the other way around. It's another way of thinking about clothing that allows us to appreciate all the more the surprises that Nature offers us. 

Putting meaning back into clothing

Doesn't promoting ancestral know-how contribute to the idea of putting meaning back into clothing? In any case, that's what we believe and defend.
Finding the right shade requires patience and rigour. Sometimes we may be surprised by the results, which can vary from one material to another. And that's the beauty of it! Whatever the case, vegetable dyeing fabric takes time and know-how. Which also means knowing how to adapt to it, as a brand and as a customer.

Adapt to natural dyes

A vegetable dyed fabric requires more care than a synthetically dyed fabric. For KIND STUDIO, it is also a way of consuming in a more responsible way, since it contributes to a real appreciation and care of what we possess.

Color that changes over time

When you have a garment whose fabric is dyed using dye plants, you have to be aware that its color will certainly change over time. This does not mean that it will disappear but that it will take on a patina. A red may not be as vivid a few months or years after your purchase. For us, this is also what makes it beautiful: accepting that this much-loved garment changes by accompanying us. The way it will evolve and patina will make it unique and special. Also, the color may slightly disgorge at first, it will take special care when washing.

A fabric to take care of

Reduce the frequency of washing to preserve the color of the fabric, wash in “delicate” mode and at 30 degrees or by hand, with a neutral PH detergent, air dry, avoid overexposing your garment to the sun - some essential rules for taking care of your clothes and keeping them for a long time. Whether they are naturally dyed or not!
At KIND STUDIO, in addition to the positive environmental and social impacts of vegetable dyeing, we are also attracted by the fact that we take care of our garments, watch them develop a patina and change a little, and love them forever. It's about restoring its value through the patience it requires and the acceptance of its evolution over time. Because it is precious, this garment will certainly be repaired, passed on and preserved - just like the art of natural dyeing.

Discover our pieces in organic cotton canvas, dyed with 100% natural ingredients.

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