We all love colours. Some of us are black enthusiasts and some adore white. But most of us have no favorites to play and love all those infinite array of colours produced in nature.
Now that you have realized how important it is to know where your clothes came from, It is time to know where did those vibrant stunning colours we all love came from.
We all grew up loving the smell of all new things purchased. We all love the smell of new clothes. But have you ever noticed, more often than not it has an odd smell. So what’s the deal? The fabric may be produced organically but is it enough? What about the colours?
We have a lot of information available today on the web enlightening us all about organic clothing and eco-friendly fashion in general. However there’s still a lot of confusion about clothing dyes. So let’s discuss the eco-friendliness of different dyes.
Dyes are classified into these types:
1. Conventional Dyes – synthetic, chemical-based dyes used in most conventional clothing today.
2. Low-Impact Dyes – synthetic, chemical-based dyes designed to give the same color palette as conventional dyes without the use of certain chemical and metal compounds.
3. Natural Dyes – dyes made from plants, insects, herbs, fruits, teas, clays or other natural materials. These have limited color options.
AEIOUorganic uses natural dyes and low-impact dyes (which can also be referred to as azo-free or fiber-reactive dyes). This is a category of synthetic, chemical-based dyes that are substantially better for you and for the environment than conventional dyes. Here’s why:
• They have higher absorption rates into the clothing (greater than 70%), which means less chemical and grey water runoff into the environment.
• They don’t include azo-dyes, a family of dye groups that contain toxic compounds ranging from chlorine bleach to known carcinogens such as aryl amines.
• They don’t contain heavy metals.
Going one small step further, some textiles are Oeko-Tek or Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certified. These certifications don’t focus solely on the dye, but are end-to-end process and final textile safety certifications. The dyes used in the final fabric must be at least as good as low-impact dyes and are specifically tested for skin-safety. GOTS in particular is becoming more and more widely used.
Getting away from synthetic dyes altogether, low-impact or otherwise, there is a class of natural dyes that are higher up on the eco-scale. Clay-dyes are literally made from natural earth muds and clays. They are mixed with water and often little else. The colors are softer, but the dye stays put and they tend to work for people with chemical sensitivities. Similarly, there are herbal and tea dyes created from plants. The range of colors is limited, but lovely.
Again, these dyes tend to work well for chemically sensitive folks. While clay dying is fairly common and relatively inexpensive, herbal dyeing is on the pricey side and therefore less common.
Of course, the least impact to the environment is to not dye clothing at all. So undyed is at the top of our eco-friendly list.
In summary, you now know how dyes can be produced without releasing toxic wastes into river bodies and yet enjoy an array of vibrant colours using low-impact dyes and natural dyes. Let’s create a harmony by investing in clothing dyed with clay, herbs, plants and if possible completely undyed items. Following these small practices we’ll can ensure having a lighter impact on the planet and a healthier wardrobe.