Natural dyeing right now is a cottage industry. I think most people think of it existing on the “craft” spectrum. What does that mean to you? Do you have an opinion about the value that the term “craft” signifies? As in craft vs. high fashion or craft vs. art?
Oof. Yeah, I do have opinions. I feel like the theme of this conversation is the hybrid. I'm really trying to break out of the stereotype with natural dyes. When you think about this “sustainable” or “craft” cottage movement, you think about the forest and little mushroom toadstools, burlap bags, crunchy granola. Those things are all awesome and have a place but I think that we’re starting to see that natural dyeing belongs at all price points, even up into the high end realm. The truth is, if I were to hand dye tons of yarn, that should command a couture price point because that’s a highly skilled art form. If something is not beautiful, it inherently is not going to be sustainable because nobody wants it. We don't need to flood the market with 100 naturally dyed burlap bags, right?
That’s a very interesting point: the thing that someone does not want to buy is not a sustainable thing, no matter how it's made.
100%. Humans are attracted to beautiful things. If you make something that isn't a hit, you just accidentally created a bunch of inventory that’s not gonna get used. And then what was the point of that?
I think the things you're hopefully trying to triangulate are: What do I want? What do other people want? And what is good for the world?
And like, is it necessary? Honestly one of the reasons why I stopped making my clothing under my own “brand” was because I was like, “Why am I doing this?” I had to sit with myself and really ask myself. I realized that if I do want to be participating and making things I have to have more impact. And that can be by helping other brands become a little bit more sustainable by naturally dyeing their clothing. I think that collaboration is really where you start seeing new technologies emerge.