INDIGO: An African Tradition
Natural dyes come from sources found in nature such as plants, fruits, insects, and minerals. They have great eco-friendly benefits such as:
1. Minimal Environmental Impact – Because they come from natural sources, natural dyes are not harmful to the environment, which makes it so appealing for consumers. Natural dyes are biodegradable and disposing them don’t cause pollution.
2. Renewable – Natural dyes are obtained from renewable sources that can be harnessed without imposing harm to the environment.
3. Safe – Some natural dyes, such as carmine found in lipsticks, will not cause harm or health problems when ingested.
One of our favorite earth-friendly dyes is INDIGO; a rich blue dye from the indigo plant.
Dyeing with indigo is an old traditional technique. Despite having heavy cultural roots in Japan, some studies show that they seem to have their roots in the ancient trading city of Kano, Nigeria. Kano is home to Kofar Mata, the oldest dye pit in Africa, where traditional indigo dyeing (and only indigo dyeing!) is still being practiced today.
West African indigo dyeing consists of various techniques with ancient methods that have been passed on through generations. Many African-based fashion brands create collections with naturally dyed indigo- helping to preserve this beautiful technique.