The Beauty of Botanical Dye

January 16, 2017

The Beauty of Botanical Dye

Botanical dye is a form of natural dye which is extracted from plants. This method of apparel production is not only extremely environmentally friendly, but also very beneficial for individuals' health. The absence of chemical in the entire dyeing process has rendered this special form of dye technique exceptional. After all, almost all sorts of manufacturing processes nowadays involve the usage of chemicals in one way or another. 


Typically, natural dyeing processes are conducted in places with the gift of abundant natural resources. In a botanical dye factory, natural colourings are extracted from plants, usually to obtain the primary colours. From there, the colours are mixed together to produce a series of colours and shades to be ready for the dyeing process. Here's an example of the different colours which can be obtained from each kind of plant:
Indigo plant - Blue
Mango plant - Yellow
Mahogany plant - Brown
Ketapang plant - Black

Secang plant - Red

These are mainly tropical plants which are in abundance in Southeast Asia and are what that manufacturers like Yin Yang use to make their clothes. 

For example, Purple can be obtaines from mixing Blue and Red, Green from Blue and Yellow, and Orange from Red and Yellow. Sometimes, tint of Brown can be added into the mixtures to give the colours a more earthly vibe which tend to coincide with the image of an organic lifestyle.

The intensity and shade of the colours are solely dependent on the craftsmen. Despite using the same material of the same tree, the coloring results may vary depending on the seasons and the weather of the environment. Therefore, it is entirely up to the skills of the craftsmen to develop dyes which are as homogeneous as possible. It is extremely challenging to produce dyes which are consistent since natural ingredients are variable unlike chemical dyes which can be controlled under lab conditions. 

However, this is the beauty of natural products. No two pieces are exactly the same and each unique product brings with them a sense of individualism, as if screaming out loud the beauty of nature.  

Let us now look at an example of how a botanical dyeing process is carried out at Yin Yang, in the dyeing facilities in Bali. Yin Yang is a Yoga and Active Wear apparel brand which is based in Japan. However, the founders have come to realise the beauty of natural resources in Bali and have thereby developed a Bali line which focuses on the usage of natural dyes. At Yin Yang, the entire Bali Collection of the apparels is made with natural dyes in our factory in Bali, Indonesia. 

As we all know Bali does not have 4 seasons but there are seasons which are more humid, drier or hotter than the others.

Therefore, the dyes produced will be slightly different depending on the time of the year and the environmental conditions.

This is a craftsman who specialises in colors decoction from leaves. He has to maintain the suitable firepower and handle the dyes meticulously amongst the broiling sun.

The mixture of dyes is an extremely important process which needs to be carefully handled. One slight carelessness might spoil the overall effect of the dyes!


The workers dipping plain white organic cotton cloths into the yellow dyes extracted from Mango trees. 

In order to achieve a mustard yellow shade, brown dyes extracted from Mahogany leaves would be added into this yellow dyes to achieve the desired colour. 

This shows the dyeing process using a navy dye.

In order to create a deep navy color, the workers have to repeat the entire dipping and washing process multiple times. 



This is the filtration system of the factory.

This is an environmentally factory which plays its part in ensuring minimum pollution in its manufacturing process. They make it a point to filter off the wastewater before release it out into nearby water bodies. 

Currently, there is an increasing number of international brands collaborating with factories as such in Bali. Even though wastewater infrastructures are not fully developed yet, the situation definitely looks promising. At least, people are recognising the value of the natural resources in Bali and using it sustainably. However, it is important to note that many factories are still not well equipped with proper water treatment facilities and this might result in detrimental consequences within the Bali ecosystem. 

Over here, we want to remind all of you that it is vital to be conscious of your purchasing behaviours. We should always make it a point to buy wisely and support brands which are conscientious of their production practices.