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Fashion for Good to Test and Trial Natural Dyestuff

As the number of alternative dyes derived from natural sources grow, so do questions about their performance and ability to scale. Fashion for Good’s new initiative aims to eliminate that lack of clarity.

The Amsterdam-based non-profit organization launched Tuesday the Dyestuff Library, a digital tool allowing partners to choose sustainable dyestuff based on competitive performance and environmental metrics for commercial use. 

The purpose of the library, which will be accessible to the entire textile industry, is to “accelerate the shift from harmful chemistry to more sustainable options by enabling visibility and access to innovations,” Fashion for Good stated. 

In the next year, Fashion for Good will select 15 dyestuff innovations to participate in lab and pilot trials. The dyestuff will undergo compliance and toxicity testing to ensure they are safe for commercial use. Supply chain partners Paradise Textiles and RDD Textiles, University and labs partners NimkarTek, Institute of Chemical Technology and UNICAMP will test and validate the performance of the dyes and pigments on various textile substrates. 

“The Dyestuff Library is a great initiative to validate lower impact colorants to help reduce the need for some of the chemically intensive synthetic colorants being used today,” said Lewis Shuler, Paradise Textiles head of innovation.

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After the initial 15, the organization plans to develop the library further with additional innovations in materials, testing methods and dyeing machinery. Participating Fashion for Good partners, textile experts and ZDHC will provide expertise and guide the next steps for industry implementation.

“The shift towards a more sustainable industry happens when we share existing knowledge and give access to innovations with one another,” said Katrin Ley, Fashion for Good managing director. “Collaboration, not competition, will allow the industry to truly transform.”

Dyestuff Library is supported by Fashion for Good’s corporate partners Adidas, Inditex, Bonprix and Otto International, Bestseller, Target, Patagonia, Paradise Textiles, Welspun, and Shahi Exports, along with other supporting stakeholders.

The library arrives as denim manufacturers and brands add naturally dye collections. Hong Kong-based Crystal Denim recently bowed a line indigo denim overdyed with natural mineral dyes. Tonello recently teamed with World Textile Sourcing (WTS) in Peru to explore the possibilities of its patented natural dyeing system, Wake. Natural dyes are also part of capsule collections from Levi’s and AG. 

“We need dyeing innovation that focuses on less wasteful practices, reduces water usage and is less energy consuming,” said Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, Bestseller innovation manager. “To reach this, it is essential that the fashion industry supports initiatives with an upscaling perspective so new solutions can reach a commercial level—making Bestseller very excited about this project. The Dyestuff Library is exactly that kind of initiative and collaboration between brands, suppliers and dyestuff innovators.”