Innovation

DYES FROM NATURAL

Long considered an unrealistic option in industrial textile manufacturing, natural dyes are benefitting from new research and may soon provide viable solutions. Swiss chemicals company Archroma made the first move when it launched Earth Colors in 2014. Offering a palette of six different shades of red, brown or green, these natural dyestuffs can even be considered ‘locavore’ as the ingredients, by-products of the agro-food industry, are sourced within a 500-km radius around its plant near  Barcelona, Spain. Archroma has since gone one step further by
developing dyes derived from cotton harvesting and ginning waste in a partnership with Cotton Incorporated. “As soon as we heard about EarthColors, we wanted to explore the possibilities of cotton as a natural dye source,” declared Mary Ankeny an engineer and dye expert at Cotton Incorporated. Knit and woven fabrics colored with the cotton-derived dye, in a range of brown shades, were on display at Premiere Vision last September.
>       Cotton  biomass  is  the  new  natural ingredient  Archroma  is  using  to  make natural  dyestuffsLong considered an unrealistic option in industrial textile manufacturing, natural dyes are benefitting from new research and may soon provide viable solutions. Swiss chemicals company Archroma made the first move when it launched Earth Colors in 2014. Offering a palette of six different shades of red, brown or green, these natural dyestuffs can even be considered ‘locavore’ as the ingredients, by-products of the agro-food industry, are sourced within a 500-km radius around its plant near  Barcelona, Spain. Archroma has since gone one step further bydeveloping dyes derived from cotton harvesting and ginning waste in a partnership with Cotton Incorporated. “As soon as we heard about EarthColors, we wanted to explore the possibilities of cotton as a natural dye source,” declared Mary Ankeny an engineer and dye expert at Cotton Incorporated. Knit and woven fabrics colored with the cotton-derived dye, in a range of brown shades, were on display at Premiere Vision last September.

                                 Stony Creek Colors is reviving natural indigo crops in the  US .

  Experimenting  with  natural  dyeing  techniques ,Advance  Denim  immersed  a fabric  from  its  RTD  range  in the  river ,the  result  is  a  spectacular  unevenly  dyed  effect due  to  the  nature  of  the  river bed  loam .

In yet another instance of collaborative creativity, Stony Creek Color is working with tobacco growers to reintroduce natural indigo cultivation in the United States. The Nashville, TN-based start-up has not only developed a method of planting indigo that uses the same equipment as tobacco farming,but also a machine to harvest the crop to encourage tobacco farmers to switch a portion of their lands to indigo. Stony Creek founder and CEO Sarah Bellos is convinced that makers and consumers of highend jeans will pay more for the natural dye. Initial reaction would tend to prove her case as a denim manufacturer in North Carolina bought last year’s entire indigo crop. Stony Creek believes indigo crops will cover 15,000 acres of land by the next four to five years, which it believes could replace 2.8% of synthetic indigo globally.

Looking forward, the palette of possible colors may expand thanks to research at the Finnish VTT Technical Research Centre. It is investigating a leaf-processing technology that could be used to dye textiles. Autumn leaves derive their color from orange and yellow carotenoids and red anthocyanins. VTT believes these natural pigments may even possess health-promoting effects and find uses as nutraceuticals.Much like sourcing dyestuffs from nature or waste products, instead of fossil fuels, is lightening the textile industry’s environmental footprint, making jeans that last longer and fit better also contribute to the drive to write new, more sustainable pages in the history of denim. S.B.

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