A safe and environmentally friendly way of dying fabrics is using vegetable-dye or natural-dye, which is currently very much in vogue. Although it is called 'vegetable' dye, in reality any vegan source – like flowers, fruits and roots – fall under this category.
The use of vegetable dyes began in the early 1990's in Bangladesh with fashion houses like Aranya playing an important role in popularising it. The fabric designs are often inspired by the source material: flowers, leaves and nature and the final products have beautiful muted finishes. The Business Standard reached out to three brands who are doing exemplary work in popularising vegetable dyes.
Neelabh - Hues of Blues
Md. Abu Hanif has been producing vegetable-dyed clothing since 2012. Initially, he only supplied naturally dyed fabrics to various shops around the country. However, in 2016, he decided to sell his clothes online under the brand, 'Neelabh- Hues of Blues.'
Hanif learned to use natural dyes from the very best in the business, Ruby Ghaznavi – founder of Aranya.
Neelabh has some of the best and most affordable kurtis. Their peppy designs are just perfect for casual work, college or summertime hangouts. The kurtis are a good choice for daily use, especially because they are more friendly towards your skin – unlike synthetic dyes, natural dyes do not include any toxic substances.
"When vegetable dyes were first introduced, they were considered to be exotic. Only specific people wore them," Hanif said. "However, over the last two to three years, it has become very popular. It is because people are more conscious about their lifestyle choices, and younger people find them more appealing."
Neelabh sells naturally dyed handloom cotton kurtis, sarees and three pieces. Despite their affordable price tags, their designs are always trendy and contemporary.
Kurtis Tk1,000 to Tk1,200
Unstitched three-pieces Tk 1,500 – Tk 2,200
Stitched kameezes Tk 1,700 – Tk 2,500
Cotton sarees Tk 1,800 – Tk 2,500
Soft silk sarees Tk 3,000 to Tk 5,000
Endi silk sarees Tk 7,000 to Tk 10,000
Page link: https://www.facebook.com/HuesBlues
Purnanggini is best known to fashion enthusiasts for their premium quality dyed sarees, scarves and cotton, silk and muslin one pieces.
Purnanggini is an online venture of Sanjia Khan and Maria Dhali. They collect their garments from various parts of Bangladesh. Their cotton-dyed sarees are sourced from Panchagarh, and Silk and Muslin sarees come from Rajshahi. They source their naturally dyed sarees from Manikganj and Keraniganj.
"For our handloom silk and muslin sarees, we use 100% natural colour. We use two types of dye: one is a regular dye, and the other is called 2D dye. The 2D is extremely popular among our customers for its texture and beautiful contrast." said Maria Dhali.
Their intricately designed products, particularly their exquisite silk-dyed collection, is perfect for both formal office wear and weddings. Their long scarves also go well with solid kameez and kurtis.
Cotton sarees Tk 2,400 to Tk 3,200
Silk sarees Tk 3,500 to Tk 10,000
Page link: https://www.facebook.com/purnangginibd
Vegetable dyed garments are not limited to womenswear only. There are equally fashionable and comfortable naturally dyed options for men.
Tori has some of the best naturally dyed clothes for men. They operate both online and through their physical store at Hatirpool.
Like most popular clothing brands, Tori sells sarees, kurtis, blouses and children's wear. But their line of men's katuas really stand out. They also have naturally dyed panjabis and coatees. Rafi Ahmed, Manager of Tori, said these are some of their best-selling products.
Their dyes are extracted from betel nut and coconut.
Katuas Tk 780
Coatees Tk 1,300
Panjabi Tk 1,380
Page link: https://www.facebook.com/toriclothing