The ancient method to color fabrics and cloths was based on dyes obtained from plants, invertebrates and minerals obtained mostly locally. The practice of natural dyeing was effectively lost or became irrelevant due to the advent of modern mechanized factories designed to mass produce fabrics and cloths using synthetic dyes after the Industrial revolution. However, till date, some of the ethnic communities across the globe have preserved and kept alive the tradition of dyeing the wearable using the natural dyes to a lesser extent.
In the 21st century, realizing the perils of using artificial or synthetic dyes to produce fabrics that are antithetical to sustainable living, health and environment; attempts are afoot to revive the natural dyeing process to produce organic fabrics and garments in big way.
Fabrics made out of vegetable dyeing using natural pigments obtained from the various parts of plants are compatible with health and do not harm the environment. The vegetable dyeing garments are better as they are made from natural organic fibers like cotton. In recent times, the demand for vegetable dyeing garments has skyrocketed as consumers are becoming aware of the benefits of the sustainable and eco-friendly wearable.
Some of the plants predominantly used for obtaining natural dyes are Catechu or Cutch tree (brown), Gamboge tree resin (dark mustard yellow), Himalayan Rhubarb root (yellow), Indigofera plant (blue), kamala tree (red), Larkspur plant (yellow), Madder root (red, pink, orange), Myrabolan fruit (yellow, green, black), Pomegranate peel (yellow) and Weld herb (yellow), etcetera.
Garments that are produced by means of application of vegetable dyeing methods and techniques (derived from various parts of plants and herbs) are supple, durable and retain the colors for long. Even after prolonged use, the fading colors continue to retain its classic hues appearing cool and pleasing.