Making ethically conscious decisions around the materials and techniques we use is important to us. We work with sustainable dyes, organic fabrics and colourful patterns to create unique underwear. Here we share some of our processes in more detail to give you a better understanding of the brand.
We sew all of our pieces ourselves meaning that we can produce low quantities whilst also enjoying the freedom to experiment with lots of different and fun dying techniques.
In our current new collection we use a clamp dye technique, which seems simple but needs a lot of consideration to get the wanted effect.
Our first collection was inspired by Arashi Shibori and involves wrapping and tying the fabric around a pole and gathering it tightly together. This technique creates an irregular linear pattern that produces varied outcomes every time.
OR ELSE currently uses natural plant dyes made from extracts or self grown plants. As well as synthetic fibre reactive dyes which are classified as low impact dyes.
We believe that both dyes have reasons to be a good option to create beautiful colored underwear that’s fairly earth and human friendly.
Continue reading to get some more info about these two different dye types.
Natural dyes are beautiful and experimenting with them is wonderfully complicated. We love to learn more about them in the processes of working on OR ELSE´s collections. Due to their non-toxic nature, they are a great sustainable dye to use. Though they need a lot of water, heat to fix and are not as long lasting as synthetic dyes. To fix the natural dyes to the fabric a mordant needs to be used (a bath to pre-treat before the actual dyeing). It’s a time consuming process, which is also part of it’s beauty.
Fibre reactive dyes are synthetic but different to mass production synthetic dyes. Fibre reactive dyes don’t have the worrying heavy metals or AZO´s that can be very harmful/ poisonous.
Fibre reactive dye uses 90% less chemicals than standard synthetic dyes. It is way more wash and light fast than natural dyes and needs less water, time and no heat to fix to the fabric.
In small quantities both dyes and their waste products, mordants and fixatives are seen as sustainable and low impact. We will continue educating ourselves on the impacts of the dyes used.
We produce our underwear in small batches in order to minimise material and fabric wastage. Each piece is made from start to finish in our small London-based studio. Starting with GOTS certified organic cotton, the fabric is hand dyed, hand sewn and then finished.
We drop individual new pieces as our collection evolves and as we work on developing different dyeing techniques, colours and styles.
ORGANIC COTTON FABRIC
All our pieces are made using a soft, stretchy and breathable Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton jersey, which is sustainably and ethically sourced.
This means no toxic chemicals like pesticides are used at any point in the journey from growing to processing the cotton fibers, making working conditions safer for farmers and workers involved, and ensuring higher wages.
By relying on chemical-free pest management and rainwater to water the cotton crops, GOTS certified organic cotton also means less impact on the environment.
LABELS AND PACKAGING
Our focus on sustainability continues throughout our branding and packaging; the fabric labels in our pieces are made from 100% organic cotton and our logo is screen-printed with non-toxic, water-based ink.
Our hangtags are printed using a soya-based ink on recycled paper by a small local printer and the string that attaches it to the garment is made from hemp.
The envelopes are made from responsibly sourced paper that are hand screen-printed using non-toxic, water-based ink and the tissue paper is made from fully recycled materials.