Sustainable Dyes Slowly Seep Into The Outdoor Industry


Sustainable dyes appear to be slowly seeping into the outdoor apparel industry, one brand at a time. Many of these dyes come from Switzerland-based Archroma — winner of the OutDoor Industry Award in Friedrichshafen last winter. While Patagonia has worked with the company for a few years now, New Zealand outdoor brand Kathmandu just jumped on board with a new collection.

Archroma, a color and speciality chemicals company, offers outdoor brands the opportunity to use EarthColors — a range of plant-based dyes sourced from 100 percent renewable resources. Archroma developed EarthColors using non-edible waste products taken from agriculture and herbal industries in order to replace petroleum derived raw materials — the conventional raw materials currently used to synthesize dyes. This gives brands an alternative when looking for more natural ways of dyeing garments.

Back in 2015, Patagonia teamed up with Archroma for their new denim collection. Thanks to Archroma’s sustainable dyes, Patagonia jeans are Fair Trade certified and said to use 84 percent less water, 30 percent less energy, and 25 percent less CO2 compared to conventional denim dyeing processes. Over the summer, Patagonia collaborated further with the company on their Clean Color collection.

This week, Kathmandu announced the release of a new capsule collection of the brand’s signature hoodie using the sustainable dyes. The dyes fade and change color a bit over time, which is part of the appeal and creates a vintage casual look.

The colors available in the capsule collection — slate blue, burnt olive, and burlwood rose — are made from the non-edible parts of nutshells, almond shells, rosemary, saw palmetto, bitter orange and beetroot, left over from agriculture industry or herbal extraction.

Hopefully Patagonia and Kathmandu will inspire other outdoor brands to adopt sustainable dyes in their future collections.

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