One of our most favourite recent discoveries is Blueprint–a beautiful studio in the city of Amsterdam, well-known for it’s work with indigo dyes and denim. The team at Blueprint are extremely passionate about their craft and are masters in using traditional skills in a contemporary way, resulting in one-of-a-kind-design concepts and handmade textile products. Blueprint also hosts workshops on topics like dyeing, upcycling and block-printing, sharing their knowledge with students across all ages.
Indigo is an organic compound, known for its rich blue color. It is derived from the Indigofera tinctoria, a crop that is native to the country of India – one of the earliest known production centres of indigo. Since it is completely derived from nature, it is fully organic and sustainable and does not pose any hazards to the environment.
Natural indigo in India is made like this: the cut plant is tied and placed in the vats made of brick lined with cement. The plants are then covered with clear fresh water and left to steep until fermentation ends, usually for 10 to 15 hours. The liquor that is yellow in color and is a result of the fermentation process is moved into beaters where it is treated with wooden oars or by machinery. The color of the mass changes into green, then blue and then into the indigo. The mass settles to the bottom of the vat and is then extracted which then boiled, filtered and pressed to be dry as much as possible. The final product is a dry mass cut into cubes.
The first synthetic indigo dye was made by German chemist Adolf von Baeyer in 1878 but synthesis of indigo those first tries was impractical. The experimenting continued and first commercially practical synthetic indigo was made in 1897.
Earlier, only indigo was used to dye the fabric, however, synthetic dyes have now completely taken over and have left very little room for the use of organic dyes owing to their cheap cost and easy availability. Blueprint Amsterdam is one of the many boutique brands who are working at reintroducing this dye in the fashion space, by their conscious use of organic materials and mindful production techniques.
Information source – History of Jeans
– Written by Soha Joshi