For its 2021 collection, Marimekko unveiled its very first products printed with natural dye. The launch is the culmination of an innovative collaboration towards more sustainable dyes with fellow Finnish company, Natural Indigo Finland.
The first dye to arise from the partnership is a vibrant indigo blue. The popping shade is naturally derived from the woad plant also known as dyer’s woad that thrives in hot climates across Asia, Southern Europe and North America, but grown also in Finland. Although woad has been used to dye fabrics for millennia, this is the first time it’s utilized on an industrial scale. Natural Indigo has also experimented with other dyes from various industry by-products, such as onion skins.
Testing the dyes
Marimekko and Natural Indigo Finland started their collaboration on natural dyes in 2019. Along the way, the Marimekko printing factory in Helsinki has been used in testing among other things the use quality and color fastness of different dyes. Using natural dyes demands innovative thinking in pattern design and coloring techniques as the dyes often appear differently on fabric than traditional dye and their appearance will change over time, creating truly unique items.
The search for sustainability continues
Natural dye is just one area where Marimekko seeks to increase its level of sustainability. This collaboration is proof that it’s possible to find eco-friendly alternatives to many conventional substances. Other important focus areas evolve around other product materials, packaging, and transport, to name a few.