"We follow nature for inspiration. The seamless contours and colors in harmony with one another; moment by moment, evolve, grow, gloom, and effortlessly complement each other." — Elaheh Demirchelie
Our compostable collection consists of pieces that are either vegetable-dyed or completely raw, undyed. No chemicals of any kind have been used on this collection. We rely on ancient dyeing techniques and binding processes for this collection. Protein-based fibers such as silk and wool are exceptionally well-matched with vegetable dyes. For our vegetable-dyed silk, we leverage the unparalleled expertise of our partners in China and India, who have been using natural dyes for generations.
Dyeing with plants, barks, and insects in China, has been traced back more than 5,000 years. The essential process of dyeing has changed little over time. Typically, the dye material is put in a pot of water, and then the textiles to be dyed are added to the pot, which is heated and stirred until the color is transferred. Textile fiber may be dyed before spinning, but most textiles are "yarn-dyed" or "piece-dyed" after weaving. Many natural dyes require mordants to bind the dye to the textile fibers; tannin from oak galls, salt, natural alum, vinegar, and ammonia from stale urine were used by early dyers. This year, we used Myrobalan (Terminalia chebula) as a dye and a mordant, as its rich on tannin. Terminalia chebula is a deciduous tree that grows in the foothills of the Himalayas in Asia. The dye comes from a powder derived from dried fruits. We use Myrobalan in producing shades of light gold and butter yellows.
The Biodegradable Collection consists of all-natural and organic fibers similar to the Compostable Collection, such as organic cotton, organic linen, hemp, mulberry silk, and modal. The main difference between the compostable and the biodegradable collection is in the dyeing process. Although both collections are made of 100% natural and organic fibers, the biodegradable collection utilizes non-toxic, OEKO-TEX® certified and in some cases low-impact dyes in the manufacturing process. Our silk manufacturer in China holds a certification of STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX®. OEKO-TEX® is one of the world's best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. These standards, in addition to our pre-screening process, ensures that all of our fabrics and factories, meet our sustainability requirements.
Indian artisans borrowed a technique from China, and turned it into a culturally distinct art form. Different types of dye and patterns became synonymous with different regions of the country. Over the centuries some portions of the process were changed and eventually replaced by screen printing, but many small workshops hold true to traditional block printing. We merge small pieces of these beautiful block prints into some of our clothes in creating unique collaged pieces from different parts of the world. The designs are drawn onto paper and then transferred to a perfectly smooth block of wood. The block can be sourced from many types of trees, but it always needs to be 2-3 inches thick to prevent warping. A separate block must be made for each color incorporated into the design. We use the same vegetable, natural dye techniques on our block pattern fabrics. Once the printing is complete and the dye has set, the fabric is thoroughly washed and dried.