Indigo: The Dyeing of Jeans

When we talk about “blue jeans” today, each of us has a clear idea of ??what color we are referring to. By now this is a real iconic color, like “mint green” or “blue sky”. Not everyone knows the story behind this color: in fact, jeans, being made of cotton, would be white; the classic blue color is given by indigo, a natural dye from the Indigofera Tinctoria plant.


This dyeing plant originated in India and was subsequently cultivated also in China and the Americas before becoming so widespread. It belongs to the legume family and is a perennial shrub plant with spikes of purple to pink flowers. The ancient peoples of Asia used it to dye clothes as early as 2000 BC, as did the ancient Egyptians.

Unlike the Asian and African peoples, however, Europeans did not use indigo as a dye for fabrics but used it in cosmetics, as a medicine and to create coloring pigments for pictorial purposes.

Color Extraction

This blue pigment is not extracted directly from the plant, but is made through a long process, consisting of several phases:

  1. Fermentation of the leaves and stems in a basic reducing solution (from which the oxygen must be removed) to obtain the so-called “leuco” form.
  2. Oxidation of the oxyl obtained from the previous phase by exposure to air. From this process indigo, a water insoluble pigment, will be obtained.
  3. The indigo then settles on the bottom of the container used.
  4. Indigo is heated to completely evaporate the water.

Jeans Color Today

Today, jeans are often dyed with chemical tincture. Despite this, indigo is still used today by all those companies that try to make a production as sustainable as possible, such as through the creation of organic denim. When we talk about organic denim we are focused on sustainability. Indeed, this kind of jeans are made with a denim that is not washed at high temperature and generally was dyed with natural colors, such as indigo. This models are so important today because of the climate changes.

We try to make our part in the battle against waist creating a line of organic jeans.

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