The Colour of Fashion

Katelyn_Natural_Dye

At CSF we are always looking for unexpected collaborations through which we can share our expertise and our ethos and at the same time learn, grow and expand our horizons. NIAB Innovation Farm like CSF has a remit to explore innovative partnerships between academia and industry but their subject area is plant genetics, a field not immediately associated with Fashion and Sustainability, or is it?

Plants are the starting point for so many of the materials and processes used in fashion and in particular colour has traditionally been derived from a variety of leaves, flowers, bark e.t.c. Yes we may have evolved many synthetic versions of these plant based dyes but ultimately they remain an inspirational and available natural resource from which colour can be extracted and applied. Of course finding the ideal strain of a specific plant, one which gives the optimum quality and yield is vital to the success of natural dyeing and this is where the scientists and experts from NIAB come in. CSF may know how to apply the colour but NIAB know how to get the best from the plant. We have been working with NIAB to devise workshops and one-to-one sessions to help artisans and designer makers to understand the potential in and explore the use of natural dyes.

In a world where resource scarcity looms large, fashion like so many other industries, must address the demands it places on the planet and find new business models and alternative and diverse methods of production. Many of the aesthetic conventions that apply in contemporary fashion are associated with homogeneity; quality control means that everything must look and feel the same, thus natural dyeing has been ostracised from industrial processes, due to a percieved lack of uniformity and colour fastness.

The Colour of Fashion workshop run by CSF and NIAB will be an opportuntity to challenge those conventional aesthetics that tell us all things must look the same and perform/age in the same manner. The workshop is open to fashion and textile based SMEs, it encourages the modern artisan and designer maker to get their hands dirty and really understand the dyeing process finding new and innovative ways to make something that is truly unique.

Alex McIntosh and Katelyn Toth-Fejel will deliver the full day workshop at the NIAB Innovation Farm in Cambridge on 10th September 2013. The programme is open to SMEs based in the East of England. You can book a place for the workshop here