• Natural Dyes with Color Ashram

    Natural Dyes with Color Ashram

    We worked with the amazing team at Color Ashram to naturally dye our Haveli Indigo Collection. 

    Give us a quick introduction, what Color Ashram Foundation is and what does your work involve?

    Color Ashram Foundation is a safe haven, a natural dye innovation studio, consulting and training centre where you learn to use colors that are made from plants and minerals. We call them herbal dyes because we choose to use only natural and safe mordants. Our process and dyes are standardised and scalable, suited to industry standards as well as hand processes

    We offer transition to natural way of colouring fabrics, paper, wall & more. Color Ashram is not your average workshop. We believe that true learning happens with reflection, connection, and also brings personal transformation. We therefore invite you to learn and experience it with us. 

    We humbly intend to learn from its rich past, innovate in the present and adapt it for the future so that it can offer meaningful solutions to many ecological problems we are facing due to synthetic and toxic color applications. 

    To know more, find our brochure: Color Ashram Brochure



    How do synthetic dyes cause waste and pollution in the textile industry? 

    Water is an essential resource for life on the planet and for human development. 

    The textile industry is one of the anthropogenic activities that most consume and pollute water. The linkage between textile and dyeing industry and water pollution is a prominent one. On an average a cotton shirt pollutes 2500 litres of water in its lifetime. And this polluted water cannot be retrieved or cleaned. 

    The dye manufacturing industry represents a relatively small part of the overall chemical industries. In the world-wide production of dyes is nearly 800,000 tons per year. About 10-15% of synthetic dyes are lost during different processes of the textile industry. Synthetic dyes are valuable in numerous industries such as textile, paper printing, food, pharmaceutical, leather and cosmetics. It is classified into acid, reactive, direct, basic, vat, disperse, metal complex, mordant and sulphur dyes. There are more than 10,000 dyes used in textile Manufacturing alone, nearly 70% being azo dyes which are complex in structure and synthetic in nature. A major source of colour release into the environment is associated with the incomplete exhaustion of dyes onto textiles while dyeing. 

    All told, about 200 L of water is used to produce 1 kg of fabric. A review of wastewater treatment steps found that textile effluent contains high concentrations of dyes and chemicals, including chromium, arsenic, copper, and zinc. Dyes and chemicals released into waterways also block sunlight and increase biological oxygen demand. (BOD)

    Besides this, there is air pollution, skin damage that is caused due to toxic and carcinogenic contents of synthetic dye.

    How is the use of natural dyes a solution to the water pollution that is caused by the fashion industry? 

    Natural dyes do not cause water pollution.

    Since natural dyes are made out of all natural  organic material, they do not have following harmful elements  like  TDS , CHLORIDE, NITRATES, SULPHATES, BICARBONATES, Heavy metals like LEAD, CHROMIUM, MAGNESIUM, etc .However it is important to use safe mordant or fixer as well, this is important if water pollution is the point of concern.

    Secondly, the  effluent can be recycled or cleaned very easily. The solid waste turns into manure if herbal dyes are used rather than becoming toxic cakes that go into landfills. The water waste can be cleaned and recycled upto 75% and can be used in farms or cleaned in a RO plant and made into drinking water, whereas in synthetic dyes, there is no way to reuse the polluted water. 

    Thirdly there is a reduction in expenses (as much as 50%) as one need not have a complex ETP and worry about pollution standards.

    Where do you source the ingredients for your natural dyes to promote a circular economy? 

    We take agricultural waste and forest waste to make our dyes. Like pomegranate peel, dried flowers, hartaki- that grows in abundance and is thrown away, etc. 

    Tell us about the process of dyeing with Indigo? What is Indigo? What are the stages of the process?

    Indigo plant, named as "Indigofera tinctoria", was discovered around 1600s (B.C.). Indigo dyestuff, extracted from its leaves, had been used in various primitive dyeing processes for years. In 1880's, the first synthetic (unnatural) indigo dye was developed by German chemist Adolf von Baeyer. He identified the chemical structure of indigo. After 1900s, synthetic indigo was marketed. In ancient years, indigo dyestuff was fermented in wooden vats. This process which is called as "vatting", is supposed to be the origin of vat dyes.

    At ColorAshram, we use natural indigo with a sugar formula to make it active and standardised, and then we activate the vat with refined lime that is also standardised by us. That is all. We do not use any toxic alkali or activator as many indigo dyers are using today.

    Indigo dyestuff which is classified as vat dye is insoluble in water and has no affinity to the fibre.  Indigo creates living colours on fabrics. Indigo dyestuff can never fully penetrate into the fibre, since its molecule is so big and it only adheres to the surface and remains at outer surface of the fibre. The inside stays white. It abrades or fades continually.

    Indigo dye should be classified into two different chemical forms:


    1. Natural form, insoluble in water (cannot dye the fibre) 
    2. Leuco form, soluble in water (can dye the fibre) 


    In natural form, indigo dyestuff has a color of blue but after reduced to leuco form, the color of the solution turns to yellow.

    Indigo dyeing is a very tricky process as patches develop very quickly when fabric is taken out of dye bath. Unevenness in indigo is an inherent property of natural indigo dye. Expert dyers can handle indigo dyeing.

    Are there any surprising qualities of naturally dyed fabric? For example, is it anti-bacterial/ anti-inflammatory, etc?

    Indigo is known to be anti bacterial and has been used as medicine in many cultures. Also, indigo is known to ward off insects. It is safe for the body and should be washed regularly if it is a garment, as reduction- oxidation is a cycle that keeps indigo color fast. Washing is a reduction process as all soaps are somewhat alkali. 

    What is your vision for the future of natural dyes?

    Natural dyes currently have no place in commercial textile production. Not even 1 % of textile produced are natural dyed if we look at the quantum of textiles made. It has been seen as a craft from the past that has poetic and cultural value, not ecological value, not scalable option for dyeing, not standardised process of dyeing, not a viable process for consumers as it needs special wash care. In this context, we feel we want to make a 'dent' in the textile industry. Present the proof of its industrial use and commercial viability.Break the ice of the fear around natural dyes application. Application and standardising is our strength and we want to build a bridge for people to cross from synthetic dye to natural dye. And we are hoping there will be millions of ColorAshram in the coming future!

    Last year, we discovered @colorashram and we loved their passion for natural dyes. They’ve spent decades developing a scalable and sustainable process of natural dying and we knew we had to work together on something.

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  • Creation


    Black Friday - The Opposite of Consumption is Creation

    On a day and in a time where “new new new” is constantly encouraged and the purchasing of trends and fashion is all too often wasteful… today we ask you not to buy anything new but instead to create. We believe that creation is the opposite of consumption. 

    What better way to give to the world and to give to yourself than to sit down, spend time on creating something with your hands. Take the time today to be grateful for all that we have, the opportunities, the friends, family, love and of course the ability to build something or create something. 

    We’d like to ask you today, to keep your hands away from your wallets and instead pick up a pencil, a paint brush or a crayon and get creating. 

    We have a fun JOYN print for you to colour in or if you’re feeling super creative we’d like to ask you to design a new print for us! Something you feel would look so beautiful on a bag, something that our makers could hand print onto a design.

    A note from our founder: 

    Creativity doesn't just exist in a few, rather is a part of each one of us. We were made to create! After such a year as this, we can't think of anything better to do the day after Thanksgiving, then to stop, give thanks for all we have, enjoy our family and friends, and CREATE things together! JOYN us!” - Melody Murray, Founder and CEO of JOYN.

    The person who's design our founder loves the most will be featured on a bag in 2021. So get designing: 



    We're excited to see what you create. 

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  • JOYN Travel Collection Diaries

    JOYN Travel Collection Diaries

    Our preCOVID adventures... Our JOYN team is willing to do a lot for something we believe in. In this case it meant taking four, 8 hour long buses, 2 flights, an auto rickshaw, about 8 hours in a car and finally a Camel ride to shoot our new Travel Collection, Off the Grid

    We first started this journey based on a conversation with a beautiful lady named Aditi, whose embroidery company, RUAS, works with artisans from the villages in Kutch, Gujarat. Being a team always up for an adventure, we were dying to see how we could collaborate with this brand. The spark in Aditi’s eyes when she was talking about visiting all these villages had us convinced that there was something in this idea that we absolutely needed to explore. 

    For good measure, we took along with us our JOYN model, Sarah Hambley and our Travel Collection, and started planning a shoot. We also had in tow our production assistant Joseph Saladi, our photographer Sean Tuckey and our new collaborator and volunteer Tash Ritz - co-founder of a high end bag company called ARNA, and - my two year old (teething) daughter, just to keep things interesting. 

    Our journey, as always started in Rajpur, our hometown. We took an overnight bus to the Capital City where we stayed a few days to collect some camera gear and to get our leather shopping done at the remnant markets. Our first flight was to Ahmedabad, a city famous for its textiles among other things. We landed and after a bit of respite at a beautiful breakfast place, we were met by Aditi and on the road again for our second 8 hour bus ride. We arrived in Bhuj, travel worn and slightly dizzy from the not so glamorous journey. We booked into a run down old guest house that had the stories of many travelers trapped inside its dilapidated walls. I wondered what kind of people came to a place like this, and over the course of the next few days we got to hear some of their stories. 

    The very next day we woke up early to get ready. One of the artisans that Aditi worked closely with was getting married and kindly allowed our group to attend. It was a sensory gift. All the women were adorned in every colour imaginable, and we crowded into a tiny room to greet the bride. The men and women had to be separated according to the customs of the village so our group split up and enjoyed the different celebrations on either side of the property. It was a long day in the heat, and I sat at the back of the chatting throng of sari-clad women to breastfeed my child, I looked up and found that there was a woman breastfeeding her two year old girl too. We exchanged knowing glances and spoke a mix of Gujarati and Hindi and hand gestures to each other. Language didn’t matter, we had already found a connection. 

    Later that afternoon we visited some other crafts villages to understand what this place was all about. We learned that art was literally oozing out of every corner of this place, everywhere we went there were weavers, and sellers and embroiderers. This was a hub of creativity. We were humbled to be in the presence of people who for generation after generation had learnt these skills and passed them on. Why didn’t more people know about this? 

    We had two requirements for our photoshoot - It had to be shot in the famous Raan Utsav desert, and it absolutely had to feature the beautiful desert beast, the camel. The man who gets anything and everything done, Joseph Saladi (aka Jo), had both of these things sorted within an hour. Camel - check. Salt pans - check. We were ready. We traveled another hour and a half into the desert, found a camel named Valam Yogi who Jo would later fall madly in love with and began shooting. The setting couldn’t have been more magical, as the sun set we all had so much warmth in our hearts, it was perfect, this day was perfect. 

    The next day we went to a village where Aditi was forming relationships with some new embroidery artisans. Her goal is to get their art into markets. Most of the artisans are women, who have very little access to the outside world. Aditi works hard to make their hard work pay off. The village houses were clean and cool and had a charm that is hard to express in words. It was so quiet and quaint and I felt myself longing for the simple things in life. As the lady of the house cooked a meal for us, her husband showed us their product. Later Aditi was able to choose colours for her new collection and put some more orders in for RUAS. We stuffed our faces with the most beautiful food. Our next stop was what we had built this trip on all along; a meeting with Laxmi, an artisan who Aditi has worked with for years, and has a special fondness for. I could immediately see why. This lady was hard working, business savvy, and had an amazing eye for colour. We conceptualised a collection together and she caught on to our ideas immediately and put her spin on them. This was a match made in heaven. We spoke colours and fabric and concept over chai and snacks and went home. 

    This was our last day in Bhuj. 

    We were all travel worn and weary and ready to be home in our beds, but all of us shared the same deep gratitude to have had this experience of a lifetime. 

    We can’t wait to share the outcome of this trip to Gujarat with you, we hope we can make you feel how it felt to be there, in the ancient city, surrounded by creativity, surrounded by history. We want to bring that into your home somehow, if you’ll allow us. 

    Our Travel Collection has traveled many miles. We’ve worn it in for you, tested it’s capacity and we have the photos to prove it. 

    Where will you let this Travel Collection take you? 

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  • JOYN's commitment to Fashion Revolution

    JOYN's commitment to Fashion Revolution
    We don’t say this lightly; we are IN on the Fashion Revolution. Because we live and work with our artisans; many of whom have grown up in challenging and vulnerable communities, we have seen firsthand the potential for abuse and mistreatment of humans and the world’s resources. We would like to be at the front of the wave that is pursuing change. 
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