I’m starting this blog as a place to showcase Arusha street fashion. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve been fascinated by the beautiful tailoring and colorful textiles of East African clothing, the resourcefulness and creativity of mix-and-match second-hand clothing, and the original eccentric youth style seen in Arusha. Everyone pictured here has agreed to have their picture taken and If anyone wishes to have their photograph removed, please contact me using the “ask” button at the top right of this page and I will gladly take it off the site. Karibuni!
I recently photographed a story on the nearly forgotten practice of making of natural dyes for The New York Times. I spent the day with writer Michael Tortorello and our expert Sasha Duerr, an instructor in the textile department at CCA, as she showed us plants that could be used to make natural dyes and even brewed up a few batches for us. Natural dyes have fallen out of common practice with the advent of synthetic dyes and their ability to be reproduced exactly. But with these synthetic dyes come a host of harmful chemicals. Aside from the environmental benefits of using natural dyes, the colors that are produced are just incredible, with so much more subtlety and range. And it was just fascinating to see the unexpected colors emerge from weeds and leaves we collected all around us. This is becoming a longer post than intended, so if you are interested in natural dyes, you should read the article or pick up a copy of Sasha’s book, The Handbook of Natural Plant Dyes.
Eco prints by Wendy Feldberg Silks printed with red cabbage (blues) plus blackberry leaves/olive green, tagetes marigold/orange and green, rusted iron/black, safflower/yellow and black tea/brown). www.wendyfe.wordpress.com
last week, we talked about dying easter eggs using natural dyes…so we were excited to read this new york times articleabout a new dye garden & community supported agriculture program beginning this spring in boerum hill, brooklyn. natural dyes exist all around us–colors can come from common flowers (like dahlias and marigolds), tree leaves (japanese maple, sweet gum), berries (blackberry, elderberry), herbs (mint, rosemary), nuts and shells (acorn, black walnut hulls), or barks (birch, madrone). once you finish reading the article, watch the slideshow and learn how to make your own natural dyes at home!
Color dyed from redwood cones we collected on the ground from under Oakland old growth trees…The most aromatic dye bath I have ever smelled-like a walk in a wet coastal rainforest. (Much better than cabbage!)
“Natural Dyes from Invasive Plants for Hawaii’s Sustainable Environment” Independent Research Study Posters (Pilot study included) Spring 2010 -Spring 2011, University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM)
Presented at the UHM College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resource’s Spring 2010 Research Symposium (pilot study), the UHM’s Honors Program Spring 2011 Symposium, and the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) 2011 conference in Philadelphia. Award: UH Manoa Vice Chancellor’s Summer Grant for Summer 2010 (Proposal)
Full research and pilot research available upon request.
This video shows the Raleigh Denim chambray pants (which are sold in Barney’s) being hand-dipped in a 100% natural Indigo dye bath to achieve a distinct and beautiful dark blue color. It is so interesting to watch the process!
Patty Brown is President of ATEXINC, the Apparel and Textile Education Exchange, makers and sellers of The Textile Kit and other quality educational tools for teaching textiles, apparel, and fashion information since 1988. Here we share the lighter side of learning more about textiles, apparel, and fashion. To see our products, visit www.atexinc.com and www.thetextilekit.com.