Dyes Demystified – How toxic is your fashion statement!!

An insight on the prevelant dyes in market.


An insight on the prevelant dyes in market and how dyes can affect a person’s health via water exposure, inhalation and skin contact. Clothing can contain harmful dyes which get absorbed by our skin pores due to heat and perspiration causing skin irritaion and people with chemical insensitivity may also suffer from extreme symptoms such as dermatitis, allergic reactions, skin problems like eczema etc. Dhaaga aims to promote an awarness to all its customers to be conscious of the textile dyes that are being used in the fabrics, the way that the fabrics are processed, and any finishes done on the fabric in the manufacturing process.

There are an enormous variety of dyes, but they generally fall into 3 major categories.dye1

Azo Dyes/Conventional – Synthetic, chemical-based dyes used in most conventional clothing today. These dyes contain chemical carcinogens like petrochemicals, formaldehyde, amines, and heavy metals.

Low impact/Fiber reactive – Synthetic, chemical-based dyes designed to give the same color palette as conventional dyes without the use of certain heavy metals, toxic compounds and carcinogens, and they are much better for you and the environment.

Organic/Natural clay and plant-based dyes – Naturally derived clay and plant-based dyes from roots, nuts, flowers, clays, and tree barks are the most ideal dyes to have in your clothing from a purity standpoint for our health and the health of our environment. These have limited color options.

What is azo-free or fiber-reactive dyes?

  • They have higher absorption rates into the clothing (greater than 70%), which means less chemical and grey water runoff into the environment.
  • They don’t include azo-dyes, a family of dye groups that contain toxic compounds ranging from chlorine bleach to known carcinogens such as aryl amines.
  • They don’t contain heavy metals.

The European Commission has adopted a proposal to restrict the use of azo dyes, a group of 43 chemicals that can cause cancer, and are dangerous to human genes if used carelessly. They are used to colour textile fibres, leather, plastics, pair, cosmetics and are  prevelant in hair and mineral oils, sleeping bags, neck-strap purses, clothes, bedding, towels, hairpieces, hats, footwear, gloves, wristwatch straps, handbags, purses, chair covers, textile or leather toys, and carpets apart from hand-made oriental ones. Their use is prevalent in China and India.

As responsible citizens and entrepreneurs, we should strive to source products that are azo free so as to leave behind a colourful and safe legacy for generations to come.

Check dhaaga’s album ikkats, ikkat saree and ikkat stoles for azo free ikkat collection made from 100% export quality reactive dyes  responsibly sourced by ministry of textiles authorized weaver.


A Mughal Affair…

Mughal Prints a way back to history…When nature was drawn on clothes!! Readon…

Inspired from stylized motifs from the 17th to 19th Centuries of the Mughal Empire dhaaga brings a wide range of subtle, low toned natural colors of delicate floral prints against a white or pastel background which uniquely identifies Mughal Prints.

The Mughal emperors Babur, Humayun, Akbar and Jahangir were great nature lovers, and therefore they preferred the floral motifs. Consequently, during the Mughal period the Indian flora and fauna were depicted in Persian style. However during Akbar’s time we find a greater admixture of indigenous and foreign culture. His age was the beginning of the development of floral motifs, and these appeared only bold and half-blooming floral designs. In the textiles of Akbar’s era we find mainly the designs of flower buds with straight leaves and stems, whereas Jahangir’s reign exhibits fully bloomed flowers with tender and flexible stems with curved and twisted leaves.

The depiction of animals, birds and human figures was prohibited in Islamic art. The pre-Muslim Persian were decorated with birds and human figures which were replaced with floral motifs during the Muslim Persian court. These motifs included flowers, creepers, sprays, sprigs,  plants etc. Nature was drawn on clothes. To balance the plants with leaves and flowers other elements were added to them.

Mughal Motifs

Iris appeared an important floral motif at the Mughal court, and this motif was very popular in Mughal attires. It was borrowed from Persia and was famous for its beauty and fragrance. Their colours are a mixture of pale sky blue, purple, yellow and sometimes white. They used crocus from Persia and iris from Kashmir in their designs. Patronized by royalty, exclusive and fine printing in subdued colors, are a characteristic of the Mughal Print. Some of the flowers used in the prints are Roses, Lotus, Lotus bud, Sunflower, Lily, Tulip, Opium, Poppy, Marigold, Bela, Chameli, Champa, Chambeli etc.

Check out Mughal  Prints in Mughal Motifs in dhaaga….

Mughal collections by dhaaga