Why We Don't Naturally Dye Our Black Fabrics
The fabrics bearing the seasonal colors in our collection are all dyed in-house from naturally derived, botanically based source materials, with formulas we create ourselves. All of our black fabrics are conventionally dyed. Please read further to learn why.
To create a true black with natural dyes, one option to dyers was to rely on the use a mordent called chromium.
Chromium is a heavy metal which has been found to have carcinogenic properties. Its use has been found to be highly dangerous and toxic to both the dyer and the environment, even in minute quantities (think micrograms).
A mordant is a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material. Please note, most mordants are perfectly harmless.
Subjecting our staff to harmful chromium inhalation and polluting our waterways with the chromium from exhausted vats does not align with the ethics of our studio.
Alternatives to the use of this caustic mordant in creating black involve 'cocktails' of multiple natural dye sources, overdyed, one after another. The result from this method is the use of exorbitant amounts of water -- as well as time, an excessive amount of costly natural dye-stuff, and, unfortunately, still often do not result in a true black.
Given these options, we have opted for the use of conventional dyes for our black fabrics (and our black fabrics only). These fabrics are dyed off-site in domestic (USA based) industrial dye houses with AZO-free, low impact dyes. This is the most efficient and environmentally responsible technique within this category (conventional) that we are currently able to source.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this challenging decision, we greatly appreciate you interest in and support of our work.