Patagonia Is Using Fruit To Dye Its Clothing

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 7 months ago | News

Image: a fruit installation by Tim Walker. Image source

Patagonia is certainly on top of things when it comes to innovation and now the outdoor brand has set its sights on natural dyeing. Patagonia has just released its Clean Color Collection, which is all naturally dyed and geared towards both men and women. This isn’t a collection for the bright primary colours that we’ve been seeing elsewhere in fashion though. Instead it reflects muted, earthy tones — because the clothes have actually been dyed using muted, earthy materials.

All of the dyes used for Patagonia’s Clean Color Collection come directly from natural sources. For example sage- and tan-hued tones have been created using mulberry leaves. Pinks come about through prickly pear and pomegranate. Citrus peels and palmetto leaves are also used in the collection, while bio-waste such as agricultural residue helps to create some of the darker shirts and shorts.

According to TriplePundit, Patagonia is sourcing these colours from California-based company Swisstex, which provides more natural and sustainable alternatives to chemically derived dyes. But Swisstex says its ethos doesn’t just stop with dyes; it also minimises its water and carbon footprint across its entire operations too.

All of which is incredibly necessary for right now, given that traditional azo dyes contain a whole host of nasty toxins like formaldehyde and other known carcinogens. “The Swedish Chemical Agency found approximately 240 textile-related chemicals which pose a serious potential risk to human life,” explains The Thundress. “And about 120 which pose a serious risk to the environment. Most of the substances with hazardous properties were found to be carcinogenic, mutagenic and/or toxic for reproduction." This is despite the fact that Greenpeace has asked many major brands to take the Detox Pledge after research found the presence of toxic chemicals in finished clothing from many well-respected companies.

Although these harmful azo dyes are banned in Australia though, our regulations aren't as strict as some other nations when it comes to the way imported products are dyed. The Herald Sun reports, for instance, there is no rule regarding imported products, despite the Health Department’s chemical body, NICNAS, ­recommending restrictions. This means we have to be extra vigilant as consumers, because the dangerous chemicals found in much conventional clothing today not only have a major impact on our health and that of the garment makers; they also tend to be ecologically devastating for environments surrounding the dye factories as well. So hopefully Patagonia’s latest initiative will inspire other major retailers to take charge of the dyes they are using and move into natural dyeing wherever possible.

Via TriplePundit

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