Green Matters Natural Dye Company is a dye house that uses only plant based materials. We work with brands to develop custom color palettes, then bring those colors to life in a collection.
I believe when people think about natural dye, they think we are dealing with beautiful displays of dried flowers, when in reality it looks more like a malfunctioning hot water boiler. There is a lot of chemistry and engineering that comes with this business. Plants vary greatly depending on where they were grown, how much it rained that year, the quality of the soil, so there is a lot of managing differences between dye harvest lots. Producing clothing involves so many steps between harvesting the raw fiber to a finished garment, there are always things that don’t go according to plan.
Despite all of the challenges, some things just fell into place. We started 5 years ago with a 3 gallon soup pot in a Manhattan apartment. Now we have commercial garment dye machines that can hold up to 100 lbs of fiber in a single dye lot.
While starting and owning a business is not easy, we have been fortunate to form long lasting relationships with clients who are committed to investing in natural dyes and creating a quality product.
For Alex Mill, we dyed a small collection of garments using natural indigo. Indigo is our only process that is still done by hand. Each garment is individually dipped in the indigo vat. When it comes out, it is bright green. The garment is then rinsed with fresh water. The contact with oxygen slowly turns the garment blue. This process is repeated until the desired depth of shade is achieved. The hand dyed, layered color results in each garment having unique tonal variation that makes the color appear more vibrant than a garment that is dyed solid.
Plant based indigo contains impurities like indirubins which lead to color variation from batch to batch. Each garment is totally unique. I can absolutely spot the difference between synthetic and natural indigo on the street: I look for a blue that almost appears to have movement within the solid fabric. There is a reason they call it living color!
The linen jumpsuit we created for Alex Mill is my favorite. Linen is such a wonderful fiber, as it dries faster than cotton and really helps you keep cool in warm weather, but is also comfortable on cooler days. I find linen is my best option to wear in the dye house because of how much the temperature fluctuates and I am likely to get sprayed by a hose before lunch time each day. This magical fiber, applied to the Alex Mill jumpsuit is such a dream. The fit is incredible for people who need to have flexibility of movement, comfort and need to look put together at the same time.
Thank you Winona!