With a heady mix of deep blue hues, indigo takes on a new fresh artisanal look this season that brings a cultured (read: desi) appeal to your casual style. Think nomadic styles and endless days of Indian summers. Off late, international designers like Etro and Visvim have been taking their cues from this natural dye’s rich history to seek all kinds of inspiration to give it a new-age fusion aesthetic. With reference to natural dying and printing processes, we’re taking you along on a journey through the mesmerizing history of indigo- our inky muse that continually calls out to us.
Did you know indigo translates to “from India”? Here’s a little history lesson- Rewind back to 5000 years, when indigo was thought to have originated from India. We originally called in “nila”. Along with trade of spices and gems, this exotic shade of blue made its way to the trade markets and travelled across the seas as a coveted luxury-bound good that made happy with the Greeks and Romans. By the 1500s, Europeans started indigo factories in India to meet the demands of the West.
How its done
This highly valuable dyeing skill involves the process of dying fabrics with indigo- a natural dye that is extracted from plants that results in a gamut of blue shades (54 variants to be exact!). These plants once were considered a rare commodity that was exclusively available only to royals and earned a place next to gold and silk. History tells us that Tutankhamun was buried in indigo garbs (fancy, much?).
Along with indigo, come various dyeing and printing techniques that each spell out distinct patterns and prints. Our home turf techniques include direct block printing with indigo pigments, discharge printing like dabu and wax resist dying known as batik that creates alluring imperfectly-perfect blue-hued designs. These age-old techniques serve as inspiration and bring life to modern designs with traditional cues that create the perfect balance of fusion that we’re currently OD-ing on.
Here’s how we’re wearing indigo with a twist this season.
Image credits: WGSN