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Tonello’s New Collab Marries Tech and Tradition

Natural dyes are the focal point in Tonello’s new collaboration.

The Italian technology company teamed with World Textile Sourcing (WTS), a U.S.-based company that provides spinning, dyeing, fabric development and manufacturing services in Peru, to explore the possibilities of its patented natural dyeing system, Wake. 

Wake technology uses 100 percent organic and compostable raw materials including flowers, berries, peels and roots. The materials are dried and infused without “harmful chemical additives” to achieve warm, earthy colors. 

WTS is using Wake technology to dye yarns with natural resources from Peru. The company is working with small communities in the Peruvian Amazon to collect leaves, flowers and roots of local plants and vegetables.

“This collaboration aims to demonstrate how technology can sometimes be a viable means of reviving and rediscovering ancestral traditions, such as that of natural dyes that have characterized entire populations around the world,” Tonello said.

Tonello introduced Wake in 2019 as a circular solution that “drastically reduces” CO2 emissions and unlocks savings in water and energy consumption. The technology can be installed on any Tonello dyeing and washing machine to achieve unique and customized effects. 

“WTS sensed the potential from an environmental responsibility point of view of the Wake system, and because of their sensitivity to social issues and enhancement of their local community, they saw our natural dyeing system as a means of reviving the traditions of the past with a modern twist,” Tonello said.

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The result of the partnership is a collection of Peruvian Pima cotton T-shirts that have a “compelling narrative” and “the beautiful colors of nature,” it added. 

The company said the initiative shows how its corporate philosophy based on respect for nature and people leads to collaboration with educational and research institutions, adding that technology can support the growth of small ‘vulnerable’ communities that want to continue living on their own land according to their culture and traditions. 

“Communities that, without the possibility of supporting themselves through real opportunities for fairly paid work, would be doomed to disappear,” Tonello said.