Elliot Jia

Red Cabbage Dye Experiment

Class of: 2024

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Multimedia

Faculty: Christopher Kennedy

Prompt: Synthetic dye pollutes the world water system to an 2 alarming degree. Natural dye experiments explore another option for colours in garments, an option that was passed on to us yet almost forgotten about.

The process of natural colour dying has been around for thousands of years. Where in the past people would use natural substances to add colour to the clothing. Compared to what we have now, The natural way to add colour to any fabric is more environmentally friendly than what we do today. “on average, only 5% of raw materials involved in the production and delivery process is contained within a garment. It is therefore important that we also pay attention to the 95% of the material process that we do not see; a vast component of which is hidden water.” (Braungart)The process of making a garment with colour not only uses up lots of water, in most cases the dye used in the process of colouring the fabric or synthetic dye which heavily pollutes the water system and renders the water toxic. On the other hand, there is a natural dying process that has been around for a very long time. This process may use up water but in doing so, the water is not toxic and could be recycled through the process of evaporation and precipitation.

With designers and scientists actively finding ways to fill consumerism’s greed at a lower environmental cost, our future looks more promising than it did years ago. At the end of the day, it is very hard to banish consumerism or at once but it is very effective to eliminate or at least minimize the environmental impact we cause during the process of fulfilling our void for products.