Master spinners, loomers, and tailors, are in charge of creating IOAN undyed, organic cotton every day garments. The IOAN team of partners in India are in most cases 3rd generation makers in each field, where the knowledge of making fabrics and finished goods is deep rooted in family life. New generations along every level of production are staking their futures upon more impactful, ecologically responsible methods.
Home to the world's finest organic cotton
The Indian subcontinent extends from the Himalayas in the North to the coastal plains of the South. Scientists believe that cotton was first cultivated in the Indus Delta, circa 6,000 B.C. India’s landscapes are highly conducive for cotton-growing, however only less than 1% of cotton grown is pesticide free and non GMO. This stark contrast has sparked all the more reason for the evolution of the Clean Clothes project, dedicated to the production of quality garments in a sustainable way.
Farming cotton requires significant amounts of water. Toxic runoff from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides have catastrophically polluted water systems in India for decades. Organic cotton crops retain water more efficiently due to organic matter in the soil and most importantly filter and cycle precious resources. This is extremely important for certain regions of India, where there is a severe scarcity of water.
Less process, better for all
Why bleach or dye a fiber which is originally beautiful? Why spend resources and release wasteful, toxic discharges to change the characteristics of a natural product? IOAN undyed products are made from top quality local organic cotton, loomed in its original state, cut and sewn into garments, and washed in an enzyme water mixed to stabilize its proportions ( pre-shrunk) and to achieve the desired softness.
From the land to the finished product
Organic cotton farmers reject the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and the use of GMO seeds. They are a deeply entrenched cultural cornerstone in the history of India. This vast community of growers on the Indian Peninsula produce a majority of the global organic cotton supply. Women and men work alongside in a diverse series of settings, from the organic cotton fields in central India, to yarn spinning, fabric looming and clothes making in urban environments... Together creating a network of like minded people where each unit or team brings the elements needed to achieve the most perfect organic cotton garment.
All within a perfect environment, working to bring production back to the original makers.
Raw Material: India
Cut And Sew: India
Hang Tag: India
100% natural pigments &/or mordants to dye fibers and garments
The craft of naturally dyed textile production and pesticide-free cotton cultivation goes back thousands of years, with strong roots in the Indian subcontinent. The origins of vegetable dyeing in India can be traced to the Indus Valley around the 4th millenium B.C. Thousands of years later, the synthesis of petroleum-based dyes proliferated in the 1870’s, bringing an end to widespread use of natural processes.
Shortsightedly convenient and inexpensive GMO & pesticide heavy cotton, petroleum-based dyes, and exploited garment manufacturing labor, has largely replaced the sustainable craft of milled organic cotton, colored with natural dyes, cut and sewn into finished garments with integrity. This shift has spoiled the natural world for more than a century, causing drastic consequences to garment workers and our environment.
Through the Clean Clothes project, we aim to create dialogue and research for two primary goals: 1) to respect and advocate for the usage of pesticide-free, non-GMO organic cotton; and 2) if dyeing is necessary, to use only 100% natural dyes. By issuing constraints on dyeing and washing processes, not only can we assure Clean Clothes on our skin, but cleaner rivers, oceans, soil, and air for everyone.
Home to indigo and the finest organic cotton
The Indian subcontinent extends from the Himalayas in the North to the coastal plains of the South. This overwhelming diversity in climates, landscapes, and culture, has provided an extensive palate of vegetable and mineral pigments to Indian dye houses for thousands of years. The etymology of the word ‘indigo’, originates from the Ancient Greek ‘indikón’, meaning ‘Indian’, as the dye from the Indus Valley Civilization was traded with Ancient Greece.
Scientists believe that cotton was first cultivated in the Indus Delta, circa 6,000 B.C. India’s landscapes are highly conducive for cotton-growing, however only less than 1% of cotton grown is pesticide free and non GMO. This stark contrast has sparked all the more reason for the evolution of the Clean Clothes project, dedicated to the production of quality garments in a sustainable way.
Going back to nature
Wearing vibrant colors should not come at the cost of contaminating our natural resources. This project not only eliminates petrochemical dyes, but also genetically modified and corporation-patented seeds in the cotton farming process. 100% natural dyes, water and a biodegradable enzyme wash are used for the dyeing and finishing of IOAN organic cotton products. Some of our natural dye forays include:
Acacia arabica: tree bark-rust/brown tones
Terminalia chebula: seeds-yellow tones
Rubia cordifolia: twigs-red tones
Iron vinegar: iron scraps + palm sugar for black & grey tones
Indigofera tinctoria: indigo leaves-blue tones. Specialized in the art of natural indigo, our dyemasters cultivate regenerative vats. The indigo solution maintained in fermentation can extend its life to decades, keeping the natural indigo richness intact, eliminating waste water and mordants during the dyeing process. Indian natural dyers use myrobalan, tannins, and wood ash as mordants for all other colors.
Those who understand the benefits of cultivating organic cotton & natural dyes
An early visit to a small team with specialized knowledge of natural fermented indigo dyeing has evolved into the IOAN Clean Clothes Project - the pursuit of a clean and fair production loop, with people at its core. At the dye house each day, the team ritualistically takes the time to remove their shoes before entering the workplace and regularly sit down for a mid-day tea between duties.
IOAN Clean Clothes are sourced exclusively from farmers and mills who understand the economic, social, and environmental benefits of cultivating organic cotton, natural dye houses with thousands of years worth of knowledge, and pattern cutters and seamstresses who take pride in their work. For the women and men we work with, it’s simply honest work - a way to produce quality goods without negatively impacting themselves or their local ecosystems.
The local team continues to expand their knowledge and operations, with the goal of passing on these sustainable cultural practices to future generations. Throughout the years, the IOAN network of dye houses has grown to four members, as demand for their work sustainably grows.
From the land to the finished product, all within a perfect environment, working to bring production back to the original makers.