Never say dye – Virtues & commercialization of naturally colored cotton

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From Fibre2Fashion

Cotton is an ancient fibre known for its versatility, natural comfort and performance. But the process of cultivation of cotton involves the application of pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, much of which are causing devastating health hazards. Textile industry is also condemned for is usage of chemicals in the dying process. Dyes used in textiles release aromatic amines. The effluents contain heavy metals, toxic solids, and huge volumes of hazardous pigments.

Growing cotton without chemicals and harmful pesticides is now considered environment friendly and biodynamic. It is a positive solution to all the health hazards caused by conventional cotton cultivation, and dyeing process. Naturally pigmented cotton eliminates all the issues regarding processing and dyeing.

Naturally colored cotton dates back to more than 5000 years. Historical evidences exist regarding the usage of naturally colored cotton with pink and brown tint. They are naturally pigmented fibres. The color of the cotton comes due to the plants inherent genetic properties. Based on climate and soil variations, the shades may vary. Brown, black, red, khaki, pink, mahogany, green and off-white are a few hues available.

Virtues of naturally colored cotton:

This is produced without the use of chemicals, pesticides, bleaches, and artificial dyes. Born colored, it is non-allergic, and gives a soft feel to the skin, along with a pleasant aroma. They are eco friendly, as they avoid the usage of carcinogenic dyes, and chemicals in the fabric. They also minimize the effluents of dyeing industries, which pollute the environment, and water resources. Naturally colored cotton does not fade during multiple washes as in conventional dyed cotton. The color only becomes

stronger. During the laundering process, the molecules will reorient to become smoother; thereby the color appears to become brighter.

To get more insightful explanation regarding the same, Fibre2Fashion had an interaction with Dr. Shreekant S Patil, Senior Cotton Breeder & Dr. Manjula Maralappanavar, Senior Scientist (Plant Breeding), All India Co-ordinated Cotton Improvement Project, University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad.


What inspired you to develop the colored cotton?

“Some germplasm lines were maintained, they were very poor with respect to yield and fiber quality, hence not commercially viable either for cultivation or textile industry. They had to be improved for these to make them useful. A project funded by CCI was in operation under which these activities were initiated in 1996. “

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