All our #MadeRight blue hues, including black, is dyed with Indigo leaves. Grown regeneratively on sacred mountains, its rich antiseptic properties have been considered a powerful wearable medicine for generations.
Indigo is one of the world’s oldest dyes, with evidence of its use stretching back at least 6,000 years ago in South America and through the ages in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt and India where it was used and exported through the silk roads.
Farm to closet
The journey of your favorite #MadeRight color starts in a little nursery right next to our Rumah SukkhaCitta in Central Java. Using the seeds we saved from the previous harvest, we grow little indigo seedlings nursery first. Once they're big enough, we move them to the many fields surrounding the village. It takes 4 months to grow to their full size.
Before dyeing, indigo typically undergoes a long fermentation process in large concrete vats. They bubble up, appearing to breathe, and this lifelike reaction is also an assuring indication of its quality.
On a molecular level, this fermentation process is crucial. It enables the water insoluble indigo dye molecules to attach and bond to cloth fibers, which makes sure the dye stays on the clothes. The depth and fastness of the colour are determined by the layers of fermented indigo dye molecules built up in the vat.
The process is laborious and is all done by hand, following the cycles of Nature.
1 Indigo Black Shirt takes 20kgs of leaves to dye. Taking our Ibus 27 dips and 2 weeks.
While we let the fermentation happen, let me take you to the forests nearby our village. Under a large palm tree, Ibu Dani waits for her husband to climb and collect the sap that built up overnight.
What does sugar farmers have anything to do with your clothes?
The simple answer is that Indigo, like us, loves sweet things. You can imagine the blue dye particles are now floating in the water after the fermentation process. But that's just it, it's sleeping. To actually use it to dye, you have to wake it up.
Chemically, it's a process called reduction, where oxygen is temporarily taken from the vat to allow the indicants to enter the fabric. Without this crucial reduction process, the blue dyes remains asleep and unable to stick to the fabric.
This is the key behind our SweetIndigo process. Using sugar that acts as the natural reductor ensures no chemicals are left behind. And the vat can be used for years, reducing the amount of water usage.
What's the problem with dyeing as usual?
Today, almost all our clothes are dyed with chemicals. Causing social and environmental issues that are hidden behind the colors we choose to wear.
Synthetic dyes are responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution globally. In fact, 72 toxic chemicals in our water come solely from textile dyeing - of which 30 can never be removed. These chemicals keep reacting and forever changing in our rivers.
The good news? There is a better way. And it involves looking back, to the way our ancestors have lived in harmony with Nature over generations.