Jan 17, 2018 | By Samuel Trotman
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When you work in denim, you never tire of the timeless appeal of Indigo. The rich history of the natural dye gives it an enduring allure that spans cultures and centuries unlike any other.
Even today artisans around the world remain infatuated with the stuff, expressing their own unique “savoir-faire” in the crafting process of creating beautiful products.
One such craftsman still practicing this ancient art is Bruno Duflos & Thierry Lelann of Bleu De Cocagne. Based in Toulouse-France in the “Country of Cockaign, where a unique shade of blue made of woad was elaborated more than 500 years ago.
The woad is a flowering plant that looks like a kind of cabbage. It’s commonly known as “Dyer’s Woad”. The green leaves can be harvested six times in a year. But it is only the first year the leaves can be used for dying. Since ancient times woad has been cultivated and used to make blue dyestuff in many European countries. It was already known in Egypt, possibly as far back as 1000 B.C. The process is labour intense. It takes 1000 kilos of leaves to make 1 kilo of dyestuff. Since there is only so much dye stuff to extract from each years harvest production is capacity is limited so the dye stuff was quickly taken up by Indian Indigo by the end of the 1700s.
Nowadays the vast majority of indigo used to dye garments is synthetically produced and its only a few true purists that continue to experiment with woad. Denim brands like Tender Co., Denham and Nudie have produced special pieces using the dye stuff and Bleu De Cocagne continues the conversation for 2016, placing the dyeing technique at the heart of their creative process.
All their products are made of premium natural fabrics and manufactured in Europe. Linen is favoured through a large part of the collection, mainly because of its ecological benefits over cotton, and it delivers comfort all round. And it’s these two points that are the key focus for the brand, comfort and sustainable design. Much of the creation processes involved use slow, traditional methods, by craftsman, made in small quantities with minimal environmental impact.
The beauty of the brands aesthetic is in its layering. The stunning varying shades of indigo and fabric textures work beautifully when dressed up together.
Much of the designs and silhouettes take inspiration from antique European and Japanese workwear with kimonos, smocks, scarves and lightweight work pants are just a few of the treasures available for S/S 16 piled up in swathes of textured fabrics and varying indigo shades.
Only just launching for its debut season, the brand already has a number of stockists distributed by multi brand retailers in Japan, USA, France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy. Head to the brands website to check out the full listing and read more.
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