Behind the Craft
Introducing our plant dyes that regenerate ecosystems, empower farmers, and reverse climate change.
Natural dyeing with plants is one of the most sustainable dyeing methods out there. Less than 200 years ago, the whole world was wearing clothes that were botanically dyed.
Think about it for a second: that means that during our great grandparents' time, literally each color came from plants that grew in their surroundings.
A time-honored craft that was lost, for the sake of industrialization and fast fashion.
From farm to closet, we work directly with farming cooperatives in rural Indonesia to revitalize these indigenous plants and dye traditions. So you know exactly where, why and how your clothes are made.
While the dye may be natural, the process through which the plants are processed vary. An example of this is the use of chemical mordant or Hydrogen Sulfite for Indigo.
We use natural mordants in our dyeing process: Javanese coconut sugar for our Indigo, waste banana stems for pinks, and Symplocos leaves for reds.
Secondly, irresponsible sourcing can lead to deforestation and devastation of diverse ecosystems.
That’s why we work directly with farmers in villages across Indonesia. Our Zero Harm certification ensures that the plant dyes we use are either grown ourselves through regenerative farming or collected agricultural waste.
This is the power of your #MadeRight choice.
Ensuring that what we wear doesn’t just do less harm - but actually create a positive impact on the planet and people.
Our Natural Dyes & Mordants
DYE/BLUE, GREEN, BLACK
Our blues come from the Strobilanthes cusia and Indigofera tinctoria leaves, fermented in mountain spring water for 48 hours. A Midnight shirt needs 20kgs of leaves to dye. From light blue that gets darker with each dyeing, taking our Ibus 27x to dye.
Every 3 months, our farmer partners receive free seedlings to grow their Indigo in an agroforest.
Our ochres are dyed with leftover Mahogany woods from the furniture industry. Our Ibus use only the outer barks that are often thrown away. Boiling them overnight before dyeing the fabric in vat the next day. Darker shades take her 12x to dye.
Our farmer-level #MadeRight certification ensures no deforestation is caused from our materials.
Our reds come from the indigenous Javanese Sappan wood. We first learnt of this wood from our communities, who boil it for a herbal drink. Its deep Burgundy hue inspired us to research more on how we can use it to dye clothes, as Morinda roots are rarely found in Java.
Fallen Symplocos Leaves
Our Ibus in Ende, Flores, call these leaves Loba. Every month during dry seasons, they would go to the community's forest to forage and grind the ones that fell on the ground.
Textile dyeing is the 2nd largest polluter of water in the world. Up to 90% of waste water is never treated. (Forbes, 2020)
+8,000 synthetic dyes are used in the production of clothes; many derived from fossil fuels.
<2% of them have been tested for its impact on human health.
Without strong regulation and customer awareness, textile waste water is commonly dumped directly into rivers. The discharge is often a cocktail of carcinogenic chemicals, dyes, salts and heavy metals that not only hurt the environment, but pollute our drinking and irrigation water.
The impact of these chemicals don’t just disrupt the environment, they continue to accumulate in our bodies every time we wear it. Studies have found these chemicals in our blood, urine, fatty tissue, bone, sperm and breast milk.
We have been wearing carcinogens, neurotoxins, and endocrine disruptors (EDTs) on the biggest organ on our body. Continually impacting our health and well being in ways that are still not well understood.
The problem gets outsourced to villages - where up to 60% of clothes are made.
They affect women who make clothes have to use chemical dyes from their kitchen, without any protective equipment or means to filter the toxic waste from the river her family live from.
This is exactly why we invest so much time in natural dye research and training. To protect our Ibus and our only Planet—but also you and me.
Types of Synthetic Dyes
These make up 60-80% of all fabric colorants. They are both carcinogenic and mutagenic (meaning they disrupt the DNA in our cells) and continue to release chemical compounds when the fabric is worn.
Toxic by inhalation or on skin contact, this compound is widely used in the dyeing of polyester, which makes up half of all clothes today.
Used along with chlorinated paraffins, these perfluorinated compounds are used in finishing process in order to create special effects such as waterproofing or ‘easy-iron’.