Our Natural Dyes and Low Impact Dyes from Nepal Explained
- Natural dyes - dyes made from natural materials directly from the earth or the fruits of the earth
- Low impact dyes - dyes made from synthetic materials, designed to give the same color palette as conventional dyes but without the use of certain harmful chemical and metal compounds
- Conventional dyes - synthetic, chemical rich dyes
Over the past 12 years we have been on a mission to source natural dyes within Nepal and have had some success, although on a small scale. Consequently we use both natural dyes and low impact dyes in our clothing production.
LOW IMPACT DYES
The low impact dyes in our Surya clothing are azo free. The azo chemical in dyes has been found to contain toxic compounds ranging from chlorine bleach to known carcinogens. (They're also in some foods, they are quite a big concern.)
Although still legal in Australia, we made the decision very early on to go above and beyond what was simply required of us. We are advocates in minimizing harm to both the planet and our bodies wherever we can, and decided to use only dyes which had this azo chemical removed.
Our low impact dyes also have a higher absorption rate into our cotton fabric (greater than 70% which is fantastic), so that means far less chemical and grey water runoff into the local environment.
We use natural dyes such as tumeric, onion skin, madder root and indigo in some smaller collections within our larger collections. The colour range using natural dyes is limited and the colours themselves are more muted, however the benefit (and beauty!) they provide far outweighs this small inconvenience.
Natural dying is a small area of expertise within Nepal, and without exception the artisan dyers are all women working in their own businesses and employing other women from their local community. It is often performed in rural areas where the materials can be collected and gathered in abundance, and provides positive impact for rural economies.
Browse our range of naturally dyed clothing and accessories.