Colorant, Sonia Tay, Snoozer Loser, New York City, New York, natural dyes, plant-based dyes, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, all-natural dyes, natural dyeing, low-impact dyes, eco-friendly knits, sustainable knits, eco-friendly knitwear, sustainable knitwear, eco-friendly dyes, sustainable dyes, nontoxic dyes, nontoxic dyeing


The textile industry typically relies on a suite of synthetic dyes to ensure consistency and fastness of color. It also consumes a tremendous amount of water—as much as 200 tons of water for every ton of textiles produced, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. In fact, textile mills currently account for 17 to 20 percent of industrial pollution worldwide, says the World Bank, which identified 72 toxic chemicals in dye-house wastewater, 30 of which are permanent.

Select Colorant pieces will be available at Teich in New York City this spring.

In contrast, Tay says, the natural dyes Colorant uses are nontoxic, biodegradable, and significantly less water-intensive. Then there is their inherent charm. “Natural colors are very spontaneous,” she says. “A safflower grown in the North will never yield the same orange as one from the South. Temperature, climate, even soil effects color intensity which I realized is the beauty of the product.”

Tay, who now divides her time between Brooklyn and Shanghai, works with a dye house in China that employs local artisans to produce a range of vibrant hues from locally harvested ingredients, including indigo, welder, and madder root. The resulting collaboration meets Oeko-Tex 100’s strict social and environmental standards, which forbid child labor, emphasize workplace safety, and require the use of environmentally compatible technologies, chemicals, and dyes.

Select pieces from the collection will be available at Teich in New York City this spring.

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