Gainsborough and AO Textiles collaborate to offer a unique service combining a natural dye color consultancy with bespoke jacquard woven textile production.

Together they have developed techniques that revive heritage alongside modern production methods; in particular, the use of natural plant-based colors for contemporary textile production.

All production, from dyeing the yarn to weaving the fabric, is done in-house. The partnership has established that color sourced from sustainable botanicals, including madder, weld and chestnut, can play a part in circular 21st century textile production, making an environmentally conscious move away from the synthetic petroleum-based colors common in textile manufacture today. The fabrics are created using naturally derived color that are scalable, repeatable, and of the quality demanded by industry.

The plants include :

  • WELD — creates bright yellows as seen in the palette color but can also be used to create light and dark green.
  • CHESTNUT — Chestnut produces a range of soft brown colors. The chestnut extract they source is from Occitanie and is produced sustainably by KINGTREE, in the Haut-Languedoc Regional Natural Park. The dye is obtained from natural regrowth of chestnut wood (Castanea sativa Mill). Vegetable tannins (ellagic tannins) are extracted using wood water and concentration, therefore in a closed loop without water consumption or effluents. A good example of co-recovery since the extracted wood is then used to manufacture building biomaterials.
  • MADDER — is sourced from the roots of the madder plant and creates anything from a dark rusty red to subtle pale pinks.
  • LOGWOOD — The heartwood of Haematoxylum campechianum. Logwood can be used to create a variety of colors from deep, rich, red-purples to orchid blues.

The colors include Campeche, Luteola, Rubea, Pale Rubea and Casteneda.

The partnership will be launched at the Sustainable Angle Future Fabrics Expo in London from June 26-28, 2023.

About Sustainability

All aspects of textile production; from the replacement of synthetic color with natural dyes to sustainably sourced silk yarn, obtained through an environmentally friendly process that does not involve the use of pesticides and plays a key role in supporting rural communities.

Certified by Oeko-tex Standard 100 certification. The AO textiles dyeing process received the stamp of approval from Greenpeace International’s Detox Fashion Campaign in 2013. Using 100-percen sustainably sourced Oeko-tex Standard 100, Class I-IV natural dyes, which are compliant with the requirements of the ZDHC Manufacturing Restricted Substances List V2.0. Additionally, mordants and dyes are GOTS certified.

The exhaustion process employed in the dye house reduces wastewater and dye to negligible levels. Excess heat from steam pipes is channeled via a heat exchanger into the drying cupboard to dry yarn using no additional energy. Production has been reduced to almost zero waste as all fabric is made to order. Any yarn that is not woven is donated to recycling charities and to students. Gainsborough fabrics are designed with longevity in mind and often exceed their expected life span of 25 years.

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