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Makers | Let's Talk Natural Dye

Here at Collective-Stories we are all about keeping traditional craftsmanship alive and we want to give you the low down on the benefits of natural dye. Our Mexican partner artisans work to preserve the use of natural dyes using plant and insect dyes, a technique that stretch back more than 1000 years in the indigenous Zapotec tradition.

Artisan making natural dye

For thousands of years, artisans across the globe have added colours to cloths using natural dye. It wasn't until the mid-1800s when synthetic dyes were invented and the textile industry turned to these. The benefits of using synthetic dyes are that they are non-expensive and you can achieve the exact same colour from batch to batch. Using synthetic dye does however come with an expensive cost to the environment, such as an enormous amount of water waste, adding chemicals to groundwater and uses dangerous heavy metals in the dyeing process.

As natural dyes use biodegradable resources, the resources can be harvested without hurting the environment, giving that one is not exhausting materials from one area, but allowing for natural re-growth.

As natural dye only consists of natural biodegradable resources, the water being used to make the dye can be safely disposed of in nature. Some even use the water as organic fertiliser.

As part of keeping traditional craftsmanship alive and reduce the environmental impact of dyes, our Mexican partner artisans are committed to only work with natural dyes. Both their weaving techniques and their natural dyeing recipes have been passed down from generation to generation.

Orange and yellow flowrers

Natural dyes are made from 100% natural and renewable resources, such as plants, fruits, insects and minerals and are therefore recyclable, biodegradable or decomposable. Natural dyes consume less water than synthetic dyes and the dye and wash baths can be reused several times.

Natural dye samples in glases

Besides being safer and more environmentally friendly, natural dyes produce much more vivid and vibrant colours compared to their synthetic counterparts. In natural dyeing, each colour carries subtle and harmonious shades, which can't be imitated with synthetics.

Natural dye sample in blue

Depending on the fruit or flower, their maturity, the time of year, the hues can vary and it can be difficult to achieve uniformity, especially from crop season to crop season. This makes it challenging for the artisans to standardise a recipe for each colour.

Naturally dyed cushion on white sofa

Our textiles handwoven by our artisan partner in Mexico, are all crafted with natural dyes, which means that you will find variations in the hues from batch to batch. View our Mexican Collection here to explore our products crafted with natural dyes.


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