Caftans x Humanity
We refuse a society which dictates whom should we love, how should we dress, what should we do, and in which favors social status and profits against environmental and human rights.
The spaces between our breaths enter back into our natural state, where “I” falls away and we exist as “one” together.
We are united by the web of life; The earth is part of our being, our self and, the universe our creator. It is with this affirmation of the interconnectedness of all things where we found our home.
We are the souls who dare to manifest freedom
We live the Caftan life.
The ultimate universal piece.
The garment that unites all people
The Caftan story, is a story of unity of all people
It begins in 1993 with a group of friends on a road trip through the Mediterranean coast from Barcelona to Morocco all the way down until the Sahara Desert.
The Blue Djellaba. Morocco Road trip 1993.
While wondering the streets in the town of Chechaouen, we meet a family who quickly open their humble home to us, we all sat on the floor, communicated with smiles and unspoken languages and shared a delicious cous-cous meal and homemade coffee. Before we left, the matriarch of the house, opened her dresser’s drawers and she gifted me with what was visibly one of the two only pieces of clothes that she owned; a beautiful embroidered blue Djellaba; a long tunic with sleeves worn by Moroccan men and woman. Up until today this gift has been the most valuable garment I have ever owned.
Wearing Caftans brings me back all these cherished memories and the different cultures, tribes, nomads and all kinds of people I have meet through the years, and although we may not speak the same language, we know we understand each other. Our souls and spirits are lauder and clearer than any spoken word, because it does not matter who we are, or where we come from or whom we love or worship to. We are one, living under the same sun.”
Formally known for my monotone dark and neutral looks. The Blinded by Color Project is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage and colors of India; The creative home our collections.
Creative director & Founder
We are stronger together. Behind the label, there is a community of creatives, makers and/or ONG’s collaboratively working together or independently creating local economic opportunities and contributing in the preservation of natural and indigenous techniques.
We stand for People, Planet and Profit.
Supporting United Nations Sustainable Goals 2030
The Blinded By Color Project is not only a brand: it is a journey
By the end of 2018, we took The Caftan journey to Bagru, India paying tribute to the country’s rich cultural heritage, and soon realized first-hand the social and environmental consequences caused by the pressures of global markets, the introduction of cheap synthetic dyes and, and the problems related to water scarcity and water pollution.
Common grounds. Bagru, Jaipur.India. Sushila Chippa holding The Abstract print x Blinded By Color Project in Collaboration with Im.printed. 2018
When water is dumbed untreated back into the environment toxic substances from farms, towns, and/or textile factories dissolves into water.
Limited access to sanitation has an immense effect on Indian society; some of the causes of disease and death are related to malnutrition, dietary risks and poor water sanitation. Meanwhile, global drinkable water sources are finite. Studies has shown that the textile industry is the third largest user of water globally (after oil and paper).
Pockhar and team, Roop Singh holding the Caftan prototype at Barefoot College. Tilonia
The Barmer Aplique x Blinded By Color Project in collaboration with Friends of Tilonia. 2020
The Puppets at The Barefoot College.Teaching rural areas social, political and enviromental stewardship. A tool for education and the rights to information. Tilonia, Jaipur. India.
In a world in which around 2 billion people are already living in water-stressed areas;
We make it our mission to create within the limits of earth’s natural resources, looking through the lenses of social and environmental impact and immersed ourselves on the journey to build a more holistic and collaborative approach to product creation and consumption.
How we doing so far?
We look for alternative circular innovations sourced from pre-consumer and post-consumer waste with Global Recycled Standard certification; Cotton, is one of the thirstiest crops to grow, water usage is among the most dramatic. Data compiled by the World Resources Institute states that more than half of global cotton production – 57% – takes place in areas under high or extreme water stress.
Recycled cotton has the potential to help reduce water and energy consumption. According to Made-By, recycled cotton receives a “A” rating for been a more sustainable alternative to both conventional and organic cotton. Learn more about Cotton’s social and environmental implications here
Our textiles are crafted under the Indian sunlight without the use of electricity and, transported by car or bicycle to the manufacturing facilities. But natural dyeing processes takes a considerably more amount of water and time that synthetic dyes.
Rainwater harvesting has been practiced for more than 4,000 years and is a valuable sustainable solution when in areas having significant rainfall but lacking any kind of conventional, centralized government supply system, and also in areas where good quality fresh surface water or groundwater is lacking.
Each Caftan takes between 30 – 35 Lt of rainwater, so far, preserving 2250 lts of ground water. With each purchased you are helping us to collect the funds to help build more storage space and install harvesting systems across our partner’s Wabi Sabi Studio and beyond.
Cutting down unnecessary production and letting natural and artisanal processes take its own time. All designs are re-produced in small batches for as long as there is demand. Each Caftan is made individually following natural indigenous techniques, taking 12 days for printing and dyeing process alone. We produce our new prints from October through May during dry seasons. Nothing goes out of season. We live the Caftan live. Learn more about natural dyes and process here
Shivraj Ji working on Dabu technique in dyed with Pomegrade grin color 2020. Wabi Sabi Studio. Bagru, Jaipur. India 2020
Taking responsibility of our own production waste. Because our mama has taught us to clean up after ourselves, and Rajan at Blue Skin happily makes sure of it and keep us real; Each caftan has been strategically made reducing our overall manufacturing fabric waste to as little as 3% x each piece.
The scraps left are been collected to be used as pillows and toy fillers
Manish, master cutter
Amarchand, master sewer
Rahul, the quality control checker.
Blue Skin. Sanganer, Jaipur. India
The end of life cycle. Studies has shown that The average American throws away more than 64 garments a year into landfill.
We encourage you to keep your Caftan forever, mended when torn and honor the art and dedication in which has been created, but when your Caftan says enough is enough, it can be easily cut it into a small pieces and composted in your garden plants or send it back to us following a simple cleaning protocol, we will give find them a new life.
Learn how to preserve the texture and natural colors of your Caftan + end of life composing instructions here
Recycled Cotton - Global Standard Certification - Natural dye Processes - Care Instructions
NATURAL DYES AND INDIGENOUS PRINTING TECHNIQUES
Indian was among the pioneers in the art of dyeing and printing with fast (natural) colour in the world. In the interior of desert state of Rajasthan, at a distance of 30–35 kms from Jaipur, on Jaipur — Ajmer road there lies a small village called ‘Bagru’ having a population of around 22,089 with male 52% and female 48%. The village town is known for keeping alive the three-centuries-old tradition of printing with the splendid skills of artisans. It is unique for its indigenous style of printing using natural colors with wooden blocks and Mud resist “Dabu” technique.
Common grounds in Bagru, Jaipur. India
There is no authentic record for reference on back dating Bagru’s block printing practices However, it is estimated that this art form was introduced 450 years back when a community of Chhipas (Caste and the last name given, literally meaning people who stamp or print) came to Bagru from Sawai Madhopur (Alwar), and settled in Bagru. Even today, their community works together in a place called Chhippa Mohalla (Printer’s Quarters) by the Sanjaria riverside. It is perhaps the river name that lends it name to Sanganeri printing art form. The Chippas community settled along the riverside. The presence of abundant water in the overflowing ‘Sanjaria’ river and its clean sunny river bed led to the settlement of the Chippas. Today though, the river runs dry, but these artisans thrive in Bagru practicing their same methods of the past thus ensuring survival of the traditional art.
Hand block printing has been recognized as a craft through generations in different clusters in the country. Each cluster follows its distinctive style & methods, uses locally available natural materials and motifs and intricate workmanship.
Each fabric has a story of its own.
- Clay making process
- Anup Chippa Dabu printing ‘mud resist”
NATURAL DYES & ENVIROMENTAL IMPACT
Natural dyes produce an extraordinary diversity of rich and complex colors as well as unexpected results. Most of our natural dyes come from dye plants and fruits like the pomegranate rind used in our collections and, although the vast diversity of shades, deep black color is a hard one to achieve. Our deep black color comes from iron
Natural dyes mature, some of them age well after washing overtime changing the shade to beautiful tone like colors, compared to synthetic dyes that just fades away.
The secret of long-lasting colors is good preparation, natural dyes and indigenous techniques, if done well require time, patience and lots of skills.
Each Blinded By Color Project Caftan takes 12 days for the printing in dyeing process alone.
There are only a few dyes, such as indigo that can effectively be put on a fibre without first mordanting.
Mordanting the fibre is perhaps the most important step in successful dyeing. Mordants facilitate the bonding of the dyestuff to the fibre. There are many mordants and each one will encourage a different shade from a particular dyestuff.
Some mordants will use the mordanting step itself as a means to influence colour. Mordants can be added through blockprinting or silkscreening techniques, or the application can be controlled through resist techniques “dabu”.
Mordants such as chrome, copper and tin. Although these metallic salts work well to fix the dyes and provide an alternate palette, they are a health hazard and produce toxic waste which requires special disposal.
Mordants such as alum, iron, and tannin are safer to use and can produce myriad colors when used in conjunction with the appropriate natural dye
Our Caftans are made using:
Myrobalan - Consists of ground nuts of the Terminalia chebula tree. This tree grows in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Indochina and south China. It may be classed as both a mordant and a dye, giving a light buttery yellow when applied. It is an important tannin based mordant for cotton in India due to the light warm colour it imparts to the cloth. Myrobalan is a good foundation for overdyeing. It is also the perfect colour to lay down under a single indigo dip for teal.
Potassium aluminum sulfate is the mordant most frequently used by dyers for protein (animal) and cellulose (plant) fibres and fabrics. It improves light and wash fastness of all-natural dyes and keeps colors clear.
“Kassis” Ferrous sulfate (iron) is an optional post mordant and is used as a color changer. Because it is a mordant the addition of iron increases the light and wash fastness of dyes. Iron shifts a color to a deeper, darker shade. If used in the mordant process that shift is more distinct than when used directly in the dyebath.
are natural dyes the environmental answer?
Many natural dyes are harvested from fragile environments, therefore creating a sustainable problem when the production of big industrial quantities of dye materials are needed, and although natural dyes processes are longer and use more water than some of the synthetic dyes techniques, at Blinded by color project we believe that natural dyes are a sustainable economically and viable option for textile design, focusing in small batches at a time without overproducing, and partnering with a number of small artisan workshops as needed.
Rainwater harvesting and waste water recycling technologies are the answer to textile dyeing, in fact, no matter how big or small is the production, instead of consuming fresh water for each round of dyeing, the same water could be used over and over again. Water conservation could and needs to be improved, benefiting the livelihoods of artisans when implementing recycling waste water technologies.
1 Caftan = 30 lt of rainwater - So far, we preserved 25093 lts of ground water
With each purchased you are helping us to collect the funds to help build storage space and install harvesting systems across our partner’s printing studio and beyond.
“Water is a great issue in Bagru and needs immediate attention. Most of the water that is issued in printing and dyeing is disposed off without treating and filtering. This poses
a great threat of contaminating fresh groundwater that is pulled up to be used in the processes by the village. To avoid future depletion of the already debilitating condition of groundwater; rain water harvesting system all across the villages needs to be implemented. People need to be made aware about the situation and partake in proactive ways to better the situation” –
Avinash, fco-ounder of wabi sabi project.
(INTERNAL USE ONLY, LCA ASSESTMENT INFO)
WATER, ENERGY IMPACT X EACH CAFTAN
Printing / dyeing process by Wabi Sabi Studio
How long it takes to finish the whole process of dyeing/printing 1 caftan? 12days
How much water it takes to finish 1 Caftan? 30-35lts
Where the water comes from? From the 100x30ft roof that collects gallons of rainwater
Where the water is disposed? In farm land
Is there any harmful content in the water - from mordants or other substances? No
Is there any electricity used in the process? No
How many hours x day of work? 8:30h
WASTE AS A NEW SOURCE
Why Global Recycled Certified Cotton?
We must first understand the overall social and environmental impact involving the production of Cotton fibre.
Cotton is one of the most common and most used fabrics through history. This natural fibre is light and breathable which makes it a wardrobe staple
But conventional Cotton production has huge implications for people, especially farmers. 4 % of all world pesticides and 10 % of insecticides are used in cotton-growing. These inputs pollute local eco-systems and drinking water supplies, with negative impacts on communities and farmers health. Social challenges involved in the process include poor working conditions, with concerns over the incidence of child labor and forced labor in some major cotton-producing countries. Cotton is one of the top three genetically modified crops in the world, along with corn and soy. The use of GMOS leads to the loss of biodiversity, and the costly inputs (including GMO seeds, pesticides and fertilizers) is causing many farmers to go on debt. All these factors contribute to perpetuating poverty for many cotton farmers.
Cotton, is also one of the thirstiest crops to grow, water usage is among the most dramatic. More than half of global cotton production – 57% – takes place in areas under high or extreme water stress, according to data compiled by the World Resources Institute. Only 30 % of the cotton produced comes from ‘rain-fed’ farming. The rest relies on irrigation, mainly wasteful flood irrigation.
Studies has shown that the textile industry is the third largest user of water globally (after oil and paper). In a world in which around 2 billion people are already living in water-stressed areas, there’s an important role for fashion, fibre and textile manufacturing to play in minimizing water use in the production of their garments.
Recycled cotton has the potential to help reduce water and energy consumption. the most sustainable cotton is mechanically recycled cotton, which can be made from pre- or post-consumer waste.
According to Made-By the Higg Materials Sustainability Index, recycled cotton is a more sustainable alternative to both conventional and organic cotton- which receives an “A” rating .
But not all recycled cottons are made equal. Our cotton is The Global Recycled Standard (GRS); an international, full product standard that sets requirements for third-party certification of Recycled Content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions. The GRS certifications provide assurance that materials in the final product are actually Recycled and processed more sustainably, as well as workers employed at facilities involved in the production of GRS products are protected by strong social responsibility policy. The social requirements of the GRS apply to all operations within the Certified Organization. The GRS Social Requirements are based on the principles of the Global Social Compliance Program