At Retrovert we are working towards being a low carbon and eco friendly business. So, when we source a material or make a new item we always consider the environmental impact that they have and this informs the choices that we make. Sometimes it is not always clear cut what the ‘greenest’ options are. This is something I encountered when making my handdyed scarves. Obviously the greenest thing is not to dye them but we are not eco autocrats, instead we strive to balance our love of luxury with their effects on our planet.
So, after much research I chose to dye the first batch of scarves with fibre reactive dyes which, though made from petrochemicals, require low quantities, have no hazardous ingredients (as defined by the Dangerous Substances Directive of The European Commission), and don’t need large amounts of heat. To further reduce their footprint I used rainwater to rinse them.
I would have thought that the environmental impact of natural plant dyes would be lower, but the more I consider this I see that often they require more heat in order to extract the dye and that the mordants to increase colour fastness and colour range can be hazardous. I would like to look into this more though, as natural dyes can produce wonderful hues and have a magical quality.
Only two scarves remain now so come along to Cambridge Market to see them. Their lightness and softness are best appreciated in person.