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For those deeply concerned about the environment and their health, making the effort to choose organic apparel is a natural step â€“ especially given the ever-increasing variety of fashionable green clothing. But unfortunately, many consumers are unaware that the â€œlow-impactâ€ or â€œeco-friendlyâ€ dyes used in most organic apparel still include petrochemicals.
â€œWhile better than conventional dyes and definitely a step in the right direction, “low-impact” dyes are still toxic to the environment and even oneself, as the chemical agents (such as synthetic dyes, bleaching agents and certain post- and pre-treatment chemicals) added to the dye bath can be absorbed through one’s skin when wearing the apparel,â€ said Paul Weinstein, president of Seattle-based Truly Organic Apparel (www.truly-organic.com).
Truly Organic Apparel debuts in spring ’08 with a line of truly chemical-free, naturally dyed apparel featuring organic cotton and colors made from medicinally rich botanicals and herbs from India, such as turmeric, haritaki (popular Ayurvedic herb), pomegranate, indigo and onions. According to Paul, while the company offers beautiful apparel with an exceptional hand and style, its personal mission is to make a difference by informing both consumers and other apparel manufacturers of the viability of these naturally-based dyes, first used in India more than 4,000 years ago. The colorful urban apparel line for men and women is manufactured from fabric dyed by Aura Herbal Wear in India (www.AuraHerbalWear.com).
â€œUsing herbal dyes is the next logical move for eco-apparel,â€ he said. â€œThe first step was organic cotton and fibers and the second step was low-impact dyes. Now we’re taking the next step: 100% natural dyes that are completely chemical-free. Because the plant materials are composted after dyeing, and the dye water is recycled and reused, the dye process itself can be considered a no-impact process.â€
About Dyes and the Environment
Using a conventional or an eco-friendly dyeing process, it requires an average 80-100 liters of water to dye one kilogram of finished fabric, and while approximately 60-80 percent of the dye is retained by the fabric, the rest is emitted into the environment as effluent. In fact, estimates show that the global textile industry discharges 40,000â€“50,000 tons of dye into rivers and streams each year, plus an annual 200,000+ tons of salt (used to even out color) in Europe alone (source: http://perfect.betterthinking.co.uk/perfect/your_better_thinking_dye_report.pdf).
Following is a breakdown of the difference between modern dyeing methods:
Conventional Dyeing â€“ Developed more than 80 years ago, conventional dyeing creates heavy environmental pollution and invites the potential presence of 42 cancer-causing chemicals.
Low-Impact or Eco-Friendly Dyeing â€“ Created approximately 10-15 years ago, low-impact dyes are primarily absorbed by the fabric, thus generating less runoff laden with heavy metals and other debris; however, the dyeing process still results in apparel with a chemical residue.
Herbal Dyeing – Natural dyes are the first historical (and most friendly) colorants, the lone option for tinting clothing or other textiles until the mid-1800’s when chemists began producing synthetic substitutes, which soon took over. Herbal dyeing is a natural dye method that uses only medicinally rich botanicals and herbs, iron, and alum for color. Unlike conventional or low-impact dyeing processes, no chemicals or heavy metals such as chrome, copper, or tin are used in the herbal dyeing process.
Intent on revitalizing the use of natural dyes from start to finish, Truly Organic Apparel utilizes a process that uniquely combines conventional dyeing machinery with natural dyeing ingredients and artfully crafted techniques, thus eliminating the labor intensive process previously inherent to natural dyeing and allowing for bulk production.
Other benefits of the modern day herbal dyeing process include:
Dye effluent can irrigate agriculture, including human food crops
Waste can be used as compost to fertilize agriculture
Using plant derivatives for dyes promotes agriculture and provides income for farming families
The wide array of unique, naturally occurring colors cannot be duplicated with synthetic dyes
Dyes are certified organic by Control Union / SKAL
Headquartered in Seattle, WA, Truly Organic Apparel is a natural progression of its parent company, Tenfold Organic Textiles, founded in 2004 by textile artist Leah Weinstein, Paul’s sister. Leah traveled to India to find natural dyes where, after three months of searching, she discovered Aura Herbal Wear. Leah and Paul formed Truly Organic Apparel in 2007 to bring naturally beautiful and chemical-free apparel to the market through the use of 100% organic cotton, herbal dyes, and fair trade manufacturing. For more information, catalogs or images, editors may contact Holly Padove or Emily Frydendal at (805) 773-1000. Retailers or consumers may contact Truly Organic Apparel at 4112 NE 103rd Place; Seattle, 98125; PH: (206) 930-6713 or go to www.truly-organic.com.
Unsymmetrical – http://www.unsymmetrical.com/2006/10/the_truth_about_organic_cotton.php
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