Eco fashion news

Colorant’s Naturally Plant-Dyed Cashmere Knits are Beautiful to Behold

Colorant bridges the gap between “color history and modern silhouettes.

Story by Cecilia Culverhouse - Source: http://www.ecouterre.com
 Photo © Colorant

Photo © Colorant

Ready for a return to au naturel? Sonia Tay certainly is. The designer behind the Snoozer Loser line of whimsical womenswear is parlaying her knowledge of plant-based dyes into a new collection of naturally colored cashmere knits. Colorant, Tay tells Ecouterre, bridges the gap between “color history and modern silhouettes.” “Our dye process infuses nontoxic botanical colors with luxurious natural yarns that tell a story,” she adds.

 Photo © Colorant

Photo © Colorant

BACK TO BASICS

The textile industry typically relies on a suite of synthetic dyes to ensure consistency and fastness of color. It also consumes a tremendous amount of water—as much as 200 tons of water for every ton of textiles produced, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In fact, textile mills currently account for 17 to 20 percent of industrial pollution worldwide, says the World Bank, which identified 72 toxic chemicals in dye-house wastewater, 30 of which are permanent.

Select Colorant pieces will be available at Teich in New York City this spring.

 Photo © Colorant

Photo © Colorant

In contrast, Tay says, the natural dyes Colorant uses are nontoxic, biodegradable, and significantly less water-intensive. Then there is their inherent charm. “Natural colors are very spontaneous,” she says. “A safflower grown in the North will never yield the same orange as one from the South. Temperature, climate, even soil effects color intensity which I realized is the beauty of the product.”

 Photo © Colorant

Photo © Colorant

Tay, who now divides her time between Brooklyn and Shanghai, works with a dye house in China that employs local artisans to produce a range of vibrant hues from locally harvested ingredients, including indigo, welder, and madder root. The resulting collaboration meets Oeko-Tex 100′s strict social and environmental standards, which forbid child labor, emphasize workplace safety, and require the use of environmentally compatible technologies, chemicals, and dyes.

Select pieces from the collection will be available at Teich in New York City this spring.

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