Sustainability, naturally-dyed and domestically grown are phrases now commonplace within the style trade. However manufacturers that develop their very own crops to create dyes are few and much between. Which is what designer Mridu Mehta Tiwari hopes to alter with Kokūn (that means, cocoon), which she based in 2020, to create zero-waste clothes eco-printed with tannin-rich leaves and flowers.
“Together with pure dyeing, our focus is on zero-waste strategies, and we see to it that not even a single piece of our scrap results in landfills. We patch and upcycle to make distinctive one-offs,” says Mridu, 30, who dropped her spring assortment lately.
Impressed by nature, the vary — that includes stretchy tops, pants, and skirts — attracts from the “altering seasons and their impermanence and vivid magnificence” and makes use of seasonal flowers and crops as dyes. Every bit is made-to-order, and makes use of “gradual stitching” hand embroidery strategies like sashiko and kantha.
The designer says she primarily works with “sustainably grown, unbleached pure fibres and materials”, reminiscent of handwoven cotton, linen, hemp, and jute, that are sourced immediately from weaving communities in West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat.
“The uncooked materials act like clean canvases and are then dyed utilizing our home-grown crops and their extracts. Lately, now we have been utilizing unbleached cotton knits and have additionally been stepping into hand-knitting yarns, as they accommodate ease of motion,” says Mridu, who will probably be launching her menswear assortment quickly. “Within the coming months, we will probably be launching handwoven hemp, jute, and cotton shirts dyed with neem, rhubarb, and madder.”
The pure dye equipment
Additionally within the works are kits to encourage folks to make their very own pure dyes. “We need to dive deeper into the world of pure pigments and their extraction, and persuade folks to modify to pure dyes,” says Mridu.
To be launched quickly, the kits with easy directions will comprise dye extracts, dye flowers, and materials to experiment with, in a ready-to-use type. “Whereas sitting in any a part of the world, we would like folks to have the ability to expertise colors, derived naturally from the Indian subcontinent and use them to mess around and dye/redye their previous/new garments and textiles,” says Mridu, including, “We encourage native village ladies to dye with us. We prepare and make use of rural ladies in villages of Leti Bunga (Uttarakhand) and Raghurampur (Uttar Pradesh).”
She explains that round 60% of the crops are grown by them. Particularly the dye flowers like roses, marigolds (additionally procured from temple waste), hibiscus, cosmos, butterfly pea flowers, and so on. are all grown close to their workshop in Lucknow, and dyeing models in Raghurampur and Leti Bunga respectively. “We need to have interaction native folks, so the opposite dye crops are purchased from native farmers in close by lands. Each states are extraordinarily fertile and a few crops like neem (Azadirachta indica) and Aamla (Indian gooseberry) are available all through the villages in Uttar Pradesh. Whereas, rosemary and stinging nettle can be found in Uttarakhand. We’ve researched and have native farmers as sources of barely uncommon dye crops just like the Himalayan rhubarb, maddar roots, and so on.”
Root to material
Explaining the dye extraction course of, Mridu says, every technique varies relying on the place the dye is being extracted from: the leaves, flowers, or roots.
“Most of it includes soaking and stirring the dye supply in water for 2 days — we often want photo voltaic dyeing, particularly throughout summer season. After just a few days, the plant half fades because the water it’s soaked in takes up the color. The material is totally washed and ready for dyeing by treating it with oak galls (plant growths created by small oak gall wasps) in order that it absorbs color. Typically, to get richer colors, we mordant the material twice.” Relying on the design, clothes are made in unbleached pure materials and colored later utilizing pure printing and hand-dyeing strategies.
Nevertheless, there are challenges in working with pure dyes. “Pure colors are also referred to as dwelling colors, which implies they work together with nearly each aspect they arrive in to contact with; they oxidise simply and have a restricted shelf life; thereby, making their use very fascinating and equally tough to grasp,” explains Mridu, including how the dyeing course of additionally includes treating and fixing textiles utilizing sustainable mordants, in order that they produce vivid shades and textiles which don’t bleed or fade.
One other problem, she faces, is replicating the identical shades, “which is nearly inconceivable because of the nature of the supplies used”. “As a result of these causes, sadly many huge manufacturers are scared to undertake pure dyes and proceed utilizing artificial dyes,” says Mridu, who hopes to alter this together with her pure dye kits.
Particulars on kokun.in