California-based clothing brand Outerknown just released a very limited collection of indigo-dyed tees and sweatshirts. Hand dyed with natural indigo by the Dogwood Dyer, the collection includes seven sweatshirts, eight hoodies and 32 tees.
Liz Spencer, the owner of the Dogwood Dyer, is dedicated to natural dyes. She’s taught fashion, sustainability and natural dyeing at Parsons School of Design and continually teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Along with running dozens of natural dye workshops every year, she also works with designers and brands to hand-dye garments and textiles with natural, earth-based dyes.
Her calling aligns with Outerknown’s sustainable mission. The use of natural dyes provides a cleaner alternative to synthetic dyes used by countless brands (it’s no secret that synthetic dyeing is polluting waterways in many developing countries).
Spencer dyed the collection using natural, American-grown indigo (either grown by Spencer or sourced from Tennessee’s Stony Creek Colors). The dye pattern on each garment is unique. Spencer used a shibori technique, tying the garments to get designs, then dipped them into an indigo vat up to five times over a period of days.
The resulting shirts and sweats showcase a range of light-medium blue tones, characteristic of the dye. “You can’t Pantone match indigo exactly,” Spencer told Outerknown. “It’s not a matter of wrangling the substance to be what you want, it’s about embracing the variability each year.”
The collection ranges from $78 to $148 and is now available at Outerknown. If you want a one-of-a-kind t-shirt or sweatshirt that showcases the beauty of natural-dyed indigo, pick one of these up before they’re gone.
Indigo Dyed Pocket Tee by Outerknown $78
Indigo Dyed Sur Sweatshirt by Outerknown $128
Indigo Dyed Sur Zip Hoodie by Outerknown $148
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