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Colour diaries: a love letter to indigo

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Indigo is said to be the oldest textile dye in the world, with a history that is believed to stem back as early as the Neolithic age.

Its creation is incredibly complex; for thousands of years, blue dye was extracted from the leaves of genus indigofera. Indigo was synthesised in the 19th century and as it was easier and cheaper to produce, it soon became one of the most universal dyes in the world, spanning continents and cultures.

The evolution of indigo

While most indigo dyes now come from a synthetic source, the last 10 years have seen the rise of sustainable initiatives, with low-toxic dyes and processes entering the market. In addition, the growing artisanal natural dye movement has inspired global brands to use the plant-based dye in their collections.

Still, with the invention of synthetic indigo dye, the traditional textile skill is in danger of dying out. Listen to Celia Geraedts, owner of Blue Print Amsterdam, confess her love for indigo as she takes us into her studio to dive deeper into the spellbinding process of working with the colour.

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Beauty of unpredictability

“I think that working with dye and trying to achieve patterns, the challenge is that the dye leads its own life. That’s a challenge, but also a really nice thing. I can think of something before, but it will never be exactly how you want it.”

— Celia Geraedts, owner of Blue Print Amsterdam

Jason Leung/Unsplash

Design applications

As the trademark colour of denim, indigo enjoys longstanding popularity. This magical dye, which is the only natural source of long-lasting blue colour for textiles, has come to inspire one of our key colours for S/S 22, Atlantic Blue.

Artisanal shades of blue will return from A/W 21/22 and stay relevant for several seasons to come. Aside from the standard denim collection, indigo-inspired tones can work for a range of apparel in men’s and women’s, showing potential for activewear and even upholstery in interiors.

Read our analysis of the sustainable and scalable solutions for the future of indigo in Colour Intelligence: Indigo Dye, or explore more about the beautiful lost tradition of dyeing in A Love Letter to Indigo.

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