COLOR IN CONTEXT

UTILIZING NATURAL DYES OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST TO CREATE SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

 

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Abstract

The synthetic dyes used to color our clothes and other textiles are highly toxic to ecosystems and the people who come in contact with them. Natural dyes may be an alternative to the synthetics currently used, however there are little to no natural dyes commercially available that have been sourced locally. I researched the availability of effective natural dyestuffs in the Pacific Northwest and how they may be used in local textile industries through a literature review. By taking samples of prospective dyestuffs from various bioregions and creating a dye bath out of each sample, I was able to catalogue the dyestuff, mordant, and methods used to make the dye bath, as well as the fabric dyes and dyeing method. I then used a few dyestuffs to create garments for seven models that were shown in the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) “Everybody, Every Body Fashion Show”. I found many different dyestuffs in the Pacific Northwest that can be used as effective and ethical dyes. This will be a significant project for the local textile industries that are working toward decreasing their environmental impact.