Indigo is such a beautiful and positive colour, so much creativity is brought out of this royal shade of blue. It is considered the king of blues and is extensively used in fabric dyeing for its rich and intense colour. Indigo-dyeing has a long history; it is known to have be around since the Harappan Valley Civilisation (3300 -1300 BC). The word Indigo is derived from a Greek term indikón that means from India. Natural indigo dye is extracted primarily from the Indigofera plant, there are different species of them in India.
The indigo dye is known for its colour fast properties. Once dyed it will not fade away unless very strong detergents are used on it or if it is exposed to prolonged sunlight. Let’s put it like this, indigo is a very durable colour and will last a long time. The natural indigo dye is so amazing that it does not require a mordant (the substance that will ensure the dye stays on fabrics) and it is a chemical free process. For those of you who have tried handloom fabrics with the natural indigo dye you can instantly feel your skin thanking you. There is no exposure to chemicals and the breathability of these natural handloom fabrics are something you will get addicted to as they are so comfortable.
You may wonder how one can distinguish between the natural indigo dye and the chemical dye. When natural indigo is used you see interesting colour variations, whereas, synthetic indigo leaves a uniform colouring on fabric. Mostly the natural dye is used on handloom cottons and silks, the synthetic indigo is used by the commercial mills and textile plants. The natural dyed handlooms are slightly expensive owing to the time and effort put into each piece.
The indigo handloom products are very attractive, they are both organic and beautiful. They come in various patterns from the various dying techniques used from our Indian roots and some techniques borrowed from our neighbours like the tie-dye, block prints, mud resist printing, batik and shibori. They can be found on almost any attire be it kurtas and kurtis, shirts, dresses, skirts, palazzos, sarees or salwars. The indigo magic is enjoyed by both men and woman. They are even found on bed sheets, pillow covers, cushion covers, bags, table cloths, curtains and any other linen used for home décor. Going for such products leads to us supporting those who are responsible for the continuing existence of this natural dye at the back-end — the indigo farmers, dye extractors and the various artisans involved. The natural indigo dyed products are not only safer but are also environment friendly. This is blue gold that is every bit worth treasuring. Indigo handlooms are definitely a classic trend with a timeless charm. Their rich shades resembling the midnight skies is just too much to pass by. Like all things good the indigo spell will continue to prevail.