Natural Dyes or Synthetic Dyes: What’s Your Pick?

According to one legend, a dog’s interest in a snail washed up on a beach was responsible to have found the colour purple. This incident apparently occurred several centuries ago in the city of Tyre (in Lebanon), when its tutelary god, Melqart, was taking a stroll on the beach with his mistress Tyros and their pet took a bite of a snail, and its mouth turned purple. Mesmerised by the shade, she immediately felt the urge to have an outfit with this same colour.

Whether this story holds true or not, dyeing goes a long, long way back apparent in several different historic incidences, having found a firm place in the manufacturing of textiles, in particular, with the process involved using natural resources to produce dyes including plants, animals, insects, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Until 1856 when William Henry Perkin discovered synthetic dyes. This discovery helped in producing dyes in different pigments and also in mass manufacturing.

However, synthetic dyes are no real answer to the problem because of the heavy damage they cause to the environment and human health. These dyes are made of harmful chemicals which include mercury, lead, sodium chloride, copper and the likes. The wastage from the production of these dyes can contaminate water and threaten marine life as well.

The obvious way to reduce the impact of this toxicity is to return to the usage of natural dyes, sources from the natural environment. One may argue that using natural dyes could result in the depletion of natural sources, having to address the needs of the population today, which is nowhere near to reducing far less being extinct! But the beauty of it is that we can continue to help maintain and grow these natural resources and it will only benefit the environment. If trees and plants are uprooted to derive dyes from them, we plant more of them. It is a win-win situation. On the other hand, if we produce more chemicals to meet consumer demands, then we are becoming a part of destroying our natural environment in the production of both raw materials and the final product. This is a no-win all the way.

Choosing naturally dyed products may cost you a little more than choosing something that uses synthetic dyes. You will have the chance to have something in the exact shade of colour that you like and it even might have a longer life. But this is promoting the manufacturer to make more of them. Whereas choosing naturally dyed products will give you a clearer conscious of having chosen right and that you have made an effort to help protect a larger and more meaningful purpose.

Check out our collection of naturally dyed stoles and scarves available on our website and store in Indiranagar, Bangalore.