The Art of Natural Dyeing
Creating colorful fabric that stands up to the rigor of daily food and dirt stands and washing with powerful detergents and heavy machinery without the use of a battery of chemicals, is our greatest challenge and our greatest inspiration.
Developing a fine color using natural plant dyes is one thing. Making it colorfast another. Every other process in the dying industry uses toxic chemicals to fix those bright colors you see everywhere and they end up in our rivers, oceans and groundwater and in our bodies through the water we drink and the food we eat as well as being directly absorbed through our skin.
There is no process on the planet to dye fabric using natural dyes on an industrial scale, because the ingredients vary every time a new cauldron of dye is created.
Natural dye color is not a result of mixing set amounts of chemical compounds to achieve a certain result. Plants vary in their content of the substance used to achieve a certain color strongly influenced by the season, the soil, rainfall, climate, age and then compounded by the fermenting or leeching process and the combination with other plant and mineral materials used to activate the color.
Thus each batch is a unique creation and the results are only as good as the masters who have to decide every time on the amount of material, the time for processing and duration of the dyeing to create consistency in the resulting color.
With patience and skill, master dyers carefully manipulate each ingredient in a dye recipe and each step in the dyeing process to obtain bright, muted, energetic, or quiet colors.
Kids Organic uses dyes from many plants: Our Blues come directly from indigo leaves which alone provide strong and lasting color. Our green is a mixture of indigo and ketapang leaves. Our Chocolate Brown is made from Mahogany leaves. Golden Yellow is also with mango. The colors are fixed with lime stone that is cooked for 24 hours used sparingly first before the first coloring. All plants are locally grown except for the Secang which comes from West Java because it is not sufficiently available in Bali (and not a very economical crop for Bali).
Because of the nature of the dye and the dyeing process, color variations are part of the experience and proof of authenticity. So it can happen that a shirt and a pants from the same collection might not have the exact same shade of blue. We consider it the charm of this natural product and the proof of authenticity.
And while we consistently experiment to bring a high level of color fastness to you, certain colors more than others are susceptible to stains from acidic products like lemons or vinegar or being exposed to intense ultraviolet light (sun) for an extended period of time.
Washing the clothes with bleach will most certainly affect the colors - but who would want to use bleach after going through all the trouble of buying an organic product?
Washing them in very hot water at the most powerful machine cycle will also most certainly affect the colors.
As the color fades over time as it will, the pieces retain and even improve their softness and character. They become the visibly loved and cherished garments of your child.