About natural dyes
Did you know that the textile industry is the second-largest source of water pollution in the world? Most industrial dye processes use petroleum-based dyes and toxic fixing agents that can be very harmful to us and the environment!
Natural dyes are derived from natural sources, like plants, invertebrates or minerals. Dye sources Charma uses are from local Icelandic plants, food waste, and common dye materials like Indigo and cochineal that have a long history and strong traditions in textile dyeing.
Local dye materials include larch bark, rhubarb leaves, lupine, birch, dock, fireweed, bird cherry, yarrow, and lady's mantle amongst many other wild foraged plants.
Food waste can also be turned into the most beautiful wearable art! Charma re-uses onion skins, avocado pits, coffee grounds, and other kitchen waste.
Most dyes are from different parts of plants; leaves, roots, bark, berries, flowers, wood. One of few exceptions to this is the cochineal insect, which gives the most vibrant pink and red colors. It is a widely used food and cosmetic colorant and is the original color of Campari!
Natural dyeing has thousands of years of history and it has been mastered in all cultures around the world. The first synthetic textile dye wasn't invented until 1856 by William Henry Perkin. Since then synthetic dyes have taken over the textile industry because of their stability and user-"friendliness". But more of that another time.
Plant dyes are eco-friendly since they're made out of renewable and biodegradable sources (unlike many of synthetic dyes). They can be made from waste products, like food waste from the kitchen. All over in nature you can find plants to dye with.