Lure of the blue

Lure of the blue

Natural hues

Lure of the blue
Once a symbol of British oppression, indigo has now taken the world of fashion by storm. Many fashion labels — mainstream, niche or online — have at least one collection dedicated to this hue. And the charm has transcended the East-West divide with the colour being used in everything, from Western formals and casuals to traditional Indian wear.

“It is one of the most beautiful colours and goes well with all complexions,” says Lydia Yeadus, a third year BBA student. “Since our history is so inextricably linked with indigo, it holds a special place for the fashion community in India and has become a wardrobe staple now.”

The history Lydia talks about completes a century this year. In the centenary year of the Champaran Satyagraha, the dye that coloured India’s resistance is now fighting another battle with its synthetic versions. But designers still swear by natural indigo, notwithstanding the effort involved.

Tara Aslam, owner of ‘Nature Alley’, says, “The magic of natural indigo is so fascinating that it is incomparable to any synthetic version. Every dip into the natural indigo vat can produce a shade that is unique. The charm of a hand- finished product is well encapsulated in a natural indigo fabric.”

Talking about the challenges involved, Tara adds, “The sourcing of the natural dye is a problem since there are only a handful of good vats. Also, it is expensive and scalability is an issue.”

Lydia agrees. “The garments that use the natural version of the dye do not come cheap. But as long as they are authentic, people don’t mind paying a bit more. The knowledge about this age-old process is dying out and it needs all the support it can get,” she says.

There is a renewed demand for natural indigo as people become more health conscious and aware of environmental concerns. That apart, the magical blue shade also commands a loyal following for its sheer beauty.

Dipika Thawani, founder of D’fuzion Design Studio, says, “Indigo, as a colour, has a very deep and firm character as it symbolises various strong emotions. For me, it represents the majestic beauty of the midnight blue sky, lit with the stars and the moon reflecting over the calm sea.”

She adds that cottons, rayons and linens are best suited for indigo dyes and are apt for the humid and moist Monsoon.

Nicole Abraham from the label ‘Nicole by Diane Alex’ swears by the popularity of this hue. “Indigo fabrics are like a pair of blue jeans — timeless, classic and always in vogue. Our Summer Collection of 2017 had indigo jumpsuits for girls and coordinated indigo maxi dresses for women, which were a sellout.”

She adds, “Indigo fabrics can be used for a simple ‘kurta’ with white straight cut pants, ‘dhoti’ pants with coloured tops, maxi dresses and ‘dupattas’. The indigo print looks best when combined with hues of orange, lime green, fuschia pink, yellow, red or white.”
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