Clothes dyes cause all sorts of problems when they enter the environment. For example, in Tehuacan, Mexico, jeans factories are pumping chemicals into rivers used to irrigate corn fields downstream; sometimes turning the water blue, yellow or black. I imagine it’s quite a frightening sight and the chemicals also causes health issues for humans, animals and plants.
Most of the raw materials for the process of dyeing clothes are crude oil based and a the effluent has a high sodium chloride (salt) content – too much salt in any ecosystem is never a good thing.
While this is happening “somewhere else”, it’s important to realize that stricter regulations in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe to stop this type of effluent entering our waterways have also seen the majority of textile processing wind up in the developing world where regulations are very lax.
Earth Creations, a manufacturer of eco-friendly clothing for women, men, children and infants use sustainable fibers such as industrial hemp, organic cotton and bamboo – and a clay-dye process.
Sample fromthe range of clay dyed
clothes from Earth Creations
The clay used by Earth Creations is ground into a fine powder and then is blended with water. The solution is then added to wet, unbleached clothes and stirred for around an hour in a large vat. The garments are then removed from the vat and excess water is wrung out; then dried. When it comes to adding color to fabric, it really doesn’t get much more natural than that! From what I understand, the dye doesn’t wash out if treated according to instructions, but will fade a little over time; just like jeans.
Using clay eliminates the need for production of synthetic chemical dye-stuffs and the waste water is easy on the environment, containing only remnants of clay and materials that bacteria can process.
The range of colors available is quite astounding – not garish, very subtle, unique and very, very earthy; which I guess is what you’d expect since the colors come directly from terra firma :). The other thing I like about Earth Creation’s styles is that they aren’t “out there” as so many other eco fashions can be – just sensible, good looking clothing. The range is also well priced – I spotted 100% organic cotton t-shirts for as little as 10 bucks.
Check out the range at Earth Creations