Clothing retailer Patagonia is embarking on inventive and creative means to make their clothing environmentally responsible and safer for their customers. The outdoor clothing outfitters have just launched their Clean Color line that uses natural ingredients to dye and soften products found in the collection and are using surprising ingredients for the impressive results.
Byproducts of food waste, like pomegranate rinds and citrus peels, as well as dried beetles and poop, yes, poop, from silkworms make up the 96 per cent renewable resources used as natural dye for the new clothing line.
The dying method results in a soft finish, with jackets, T-shirts, shorts, pants and tops available in earthy colours.
With an estimated 50 per cent of produce in the US thrown away every year, using wasted food for clothing dye can help decrease carbon footprints. As for choosing natural over chemical dyes, traditional chemical clothing dying methods currently in place with big name retailers are not only bad for the environment, but they may also be bad for our health. Chemical clothing dye can cause itching, dermatitis, and in some extreme cases like the one with Zara in 2012, use azo dyes that include cancer-causing amines.
In addition to Patagonia, other big named retailers are listening to customers who are demanding more ethically and environmentally responsible production processes and fabrics. H&M, Everlane, and Eileen Fisher are just some of the brands committed to providing eco-friendly clothing options for their customers.
The new Clean Color line is the latest pro-environmental move from Patagonia, a company that has always been committed to combining functional items with sustainability, boasting Fair Trade swim shorts and often donating profits to environmental groups. The company also has a program called Worn Wear, which allows customers to return previously worn Patagonia products in exchange for a discount on new items. The gently worn clothing is cleaned, repaired and sold again on the company’s site.
Now that Patagonia has moved into uncharted territory with the Clean Color line, they will hopefully inspire other clothing retailers to look beyond harmful dyes and environmentally wasteful production practices. We don’t even mind the poop that much.