Sustainability in fashion has become an increasingly important topic in recent years, as the industry has been criticized for its negative impact on both the environment and human health. One area of concern is the use of synthetic dyes, which can have harmful effects on both the environment and those who come into contact with them. Natural dyes, on the other hand, offer a more sustainable alternative that can help to reduce the negative impact of the fashion industry.
Synthetic dyes are chemical compounds that are used to give fabrics their colour. They are often derived from petroleum, and their production can release harmful chemicals into the environment. In addition, synthetic dyes can contain toxic substances such as heavy metals and formaldehyde, which can be harmful to humans if they come into contact with the skin or are inhaled. These dyes can also have negative effects on aquatic ecosystems, as they can be released into waterways during the dyeing process and can harm plants and animals.
The use of natural dyes, on the other hand, offers a more sustainable alternative. Natural dyes are derived from plants, insects, and other natural sources, and they can be more environmentally friendly to produce than synthetic dyes. Natural dyes also do not contain the same toxic chemicals as synthetic dyes, making them safer for both the environment and humans. In addition, natural dyes can offer a wider range of colours than synthetic dyes, as they are derived from a variety of sources.
Using natural dyes in fashion can also help to support small-scale farmers and artisans. Many natural dyes are produced by small-scale farmers, who rely on the income from selling these dyes to support their families. By using natural dyes, fashion brands can help to support these small-scale farmers and communities, as well as contribute to the preservation of traditional dyeing techniques.
There are several ways that fashion brands can incorporate natural dyes into their products. One option is to source fabrics that have already been dyed with natural dyes. Brands can also work with artisans who specialize in natural dyeing techniques, such as indigo dyeing or batik. In addition, fashion brands can experiment with dyeing their own fabrics using natural dyes, which can be made from a variety of sources such as plants, berries, and even coffee grounds.
While natural dyes may not be a perfect solution to the sustainability challenges facing the fashion industry, they do offer a more environmentally friendly and human-friendly alternative to synthetic dyes. By using natural dyes, fashion brands can help to reduce the negative impact of the industry and support small-scale farmers and communities. As consumers become more aware of the environmental and health impacts of the fashion industry, the use of natural dyes is likely to become increasingly popular. So, natural dyes can play a significant role in the sustainability of the fashion industry, and it is important for brands to consider incorporating them into their products.
Other than the use of synthetic dyes the industry can use variety of different new innovations in the industry.
Colorifix is a company that extracts natures beautiful colour pallet, the process of extracting colours from nature involves using biotechnology to identify the genes responsible for producing a particular pigment in a natural organism. This is typically done through online DNA sequencing, which allows scientists to analyse the genetic makeup of an organism without the need for a physical specimen. Once the genes responsible for producing the pigment have been identified, they are translated into a microorganism, which is then engineered to produce the pigment. This process allows for the creation of sustainable and environmentally-friendly pigments that can be used in a variety of applications, such as the dyeing of textiles or the production of cosmetics and other products. By using this approach, it is possible to extract a wide range of colours and shades from nature, while minimizing the use of water, energy, and chemicals in the production process.
Apart from natural dyes there are variety of new innovations coming up in the dying.
DyeCoo is one such company that dyes fabric using CO2. CO2 dyeing is a process in which fabrics are dyed using carbon dioxide as the solvent instead of water. This process has several benefits compared to traditional dyeing methods, which typically use large amounts of water and chemicals.
One major benefit of CO2 dyeing is its reduced environmental impact. The process uses significantly less water than traditional dyeing methods, as the CO2 acts as a solvent and does not need to be washed off after the dyeing process. In addition, the CO2 used in the dyeing process can be captured and reused, further reducing its environmental impact.
Another benefit of CO2 dyeing is its reduced energy consumption. The process requires less energy to heat the CO2 solvent, compared to the water used in traditional dyeing methods. This means that CO2 dyeing has a lower carbon footprint than traditional dyeing methods.
CO2 dyeing is also gentler on fabrics, as it does not rely on harsh chemicals or high temperatures. This can result in longer-lasting, higher-quality dyed fabrics that are more durable and colour fast.
But what if we can reduce the wastage of dyes and use them again and again? Just like fabric, yarns and fibres recycling, we can also recycle the dyes which are being used in the industry.
DyeRecycle is such a company that is innovating to recycle the dyes that is been currently used. DyeRecycle technology selectively extract dyes from waste fibres, and transfer the dyes to a new fabric. The process eliminates the use of new dyes for the dyeing process, while enabling fibre-2-fibre recycling by providing decoloured fibre. The liquid is recycled and reused in the process, making the process circular by design. Every garment dyed with DyeRecycle uses 85% less chemicals, 66% less water and generates 57% less carbon emissions.
Whether it is extracting dyes from nature or reducing the water wastage or the recycling of dyes, these new innovations are a must for the textile industry to become sustainable in the long run.