Kitchen Sink Dye Guide
May 6th, 2023 - New York City, NY
Those who have been long questioning their relationship with clothing often experience frustration with their wardrobe's ever-growing size. How can all of these garments pile up in our wardrobes whilst there are both people without enough clothing and expansive fields littered with clothing? This gratuitousness must be a symptom of a broken system. It's astounding how we can make so many textiles, bags, and clothes with so little need for them- artistically or physiologically. But the same thing can be found regarding commodities that are even more necessary for survival, say food. In the United States, the USDA’s Economic Research Service found that 31 percent of food is wasted at the retail and consumer levels of the supply chain. This equates to roughly 133 billion pounds of food per year. To us it's a glaring contradiction between the modern efficiencies of eating a tropical fruit in the dead of winter and the pace of our contemporary lives... simply stretched too thin.
What if we could use food and clothing waste in unison to joyfully explore our relationships with each?
There are natural pigments all around us, our kitchen is loaded with them. Think about the last time you had yellow curry, borscht, or a cup of tea. Maybe you spilled a little on a white shirt. Those colors are more than an annoying stain. They are brilliant! We can use this knowledge to dye our garments, but what does it really reveal? Many objects surrounding us go under-appreciated and misunderstood, most often unknowingly. The case for kitchen waste dye is one where we can learn simultaneously about the food we eat and the clothing we wear. We wanted to make a dye guide that helps explore these relationships with both excitement and appreciation. It's renewal, self expression, and gratuity all mixed in one.
This weekend, we're publishing our Kitchen Sink Dye Guide. This 45 paged zine is designed to give you an understanding of not only botanical dyes, but food waste-based botanical dyes. You'll be able to renew an old garment, dye some fabric for a sewing project, or personalize your Ground Cover sweatshirt all using kitchen scraps. We walk through three colors in depth: brown (black tea), radiant yellow (onion and turmeric), and aquatic purple (red cabbage), and offer an extensive list of pigments you can find in your kitchen and in nature. In the Appendix, you'll find breakdowns on mordanting your fabric, altering the pH of your wash bath, and a brief history on botanical pigments. Hint: it's been around as long as we have.
Our goal here is to inspire your dye jobs and give you the confidence to experiment with natural dyes. Accept their irregular beauty, soft colors, and wear, and you'll be golden.