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Farm to Closet: Natural Dye Yellow

Did you know that how clothes are dyed is the most polluting aspect of its production? With rivers turning black or bright red depending on what's the current color trend, we need to find a way to shift from hazardous chemicals to ensure our desire for color doesn't come at the expense of our planet's health.

You know we use regeneratively grown Indigo leaves and palm sugar for blue. Today, I want to share about how our Ibus create yellow with plants!

Our first trial was using Turmeric. It's an important spice in the Indonesian cuisine, creating the warm yellow of Soto Soup or Kunyit Asam Jamu. We boilt it and left it overnight, and yes as expected, it turns the fabric yellow when dipped into the vat.


But there was a problem.

The color was lost as quick as it entered the fabric. To ensure the longevity of the dyes, our fabrics have to withstand what we call a color fastness test: 5x washing and 3 x 24 hours in the sun.

Only if the fabric pass this test, can we call it natural dye.
Unless, it's just considered 'stain'.


And so, we continued our search for color-fast yellow. As always, researching what our ancestors used before chemicals proliferated the industry. Our journey brought us to secluded villages and ancient forests, where we encountered the Golden Fruits.


She's called Terminalia Bellirica, or Jelawe in Indonesian. Part of the Myrobalan family, she grows on really large avenue trees in hilly plains of Java.

To understand its specialness, we need to consider its history. In the Hindu folklores across India and Indonesia, the tree is believed to be sacred. It is the dwelling place of the unseen and bad things will happen if you ever harm it.

This mythology is what ensures its survival from poachers and illegal loggers. For decades, providing shade and meaning to the villages surrounding the mountains. This belief is so strong that the community doesn't even dare to climb up and pick the fruits, but only pick up the fruits that fell on the ground.

 

That means, our Ibus can only forage the fruits once a year. Only after the monsoon season, where the strong rain and wind drop the fruits from the tree.

Hanya yang jatuh,” she said. Only pick the ones that fell on the ground.

Why?” I asked.

Ini pohon suci. Kita jaga dia, dia beri kita hidup.
This is a sacred tree. We take care of it, it gives us life.

 

And together, we picked each fallen fruit like a gift from the Earth. Taking only enough and leaving nourishments for the tree so that it will continue to bring abundance.


Afterwards, the fruits are dried in the sun before sending it to our Ibus in Jlamprang village. Where they boil them overnight before using it to dye your ANGKASA Gold and the golden flowers of our signature SERIBU BUNGA pieces.

I hope this little story will remind you of the incredibly long journey that is behind your favorite #MadeRight piece. The incredibly rich impacts we can have with every choice, no matter how small.

A journey of healing you become part of whenever you wear your #MadeRight piece.

 

Signing off for now,

D
Your nerd who cares