According to Pantone, blue was 2014’s biggest color. More specifically, the prediction was that Pantone’s cerulean hue, “Dazzling Blue” will be the hottest shade of the year. Although indigo is several ticks darker, it will undoubtedly be a popular variation. Pantone was right, and I don't see this love affair stopping any time soon. let's look back on an indigo filled year!
One of the earliest known textile dyes, indigo is on par with black in terms of staying power. Since its discovery in ancient times, it has been universally popular and irreplaceable. It was worn only by royalty and upper classes for some time, and eventually became a widespread wardrobe staple in the form of blue jeans. Although most denim is no longer authentically indigo-dyed, it’s still an important color in the world of textiles and design.
From flooring, to sofas, to curtains, to walls, indigo can be easily incorporated into most any space. Pantone’s 2014 trend prediction will no doubt inspire even more innovative ways to use the color. The bold hue is not for the faint of heart, but it is a rich way to make a statement.
Although it is seen as a common shade of blue today, early indigo dying took meticulous skill and patience to do properly, resulting in rare textiles and garments. After an extensive extraction process, which involved months of underground fermenting in cow or camel urine, the dye was condensed into small cakes of indigo. These cakes were then crushed into a powder, immersed in water, and processed further.
In it’s liquid form, indigo is a bright green color. It is only when dyed fabric is removed from the pot that it takes on its radiant blue hue. Air oxidizes the dye, turning it blue on contact. Much like wine, indigo is a living thing. If not processed and stored properly, its rich color can die off.
Our wild nettle after being submerged in indigo.
Real indigo is processed all around the world – Japan, India, Nepal, Iran, Turkey, Africa, and more – with every region having its own unique practices and uses for it.
Similar to the way that paint coats a surface, indigo creates a coating on fibers. To prevent bleeding, it is important to submerge the fabric multiple times and dry it between dips, building each layer of dye on top of the previous. This process solidifies the color and seals it onto the fiber.