Archroma's EarthColors natural dye denim.

Archroma, a color and specialty chemical company, said it partnered with Kathmandu, a New Zealand-born outdoor brand, to create a new capsule collection of the brand’s signature hoodie. The companies said they collaborated to create a “vintage-casual look” utilizing Archroma’s “Earth Colors,” a line of plant-based dyes.

Swiss-based brand Archroma said that its Earth Colors range was developed through non-edible waste products, which replaces petroleum-derived raw materials typically used in dye synthetization. Its Earth Colors line features patented plant-based dyes that are sourced from up to 100 percent renewable resources, the company said.

Colors available in Kathmandu’s capsule collection include slate blue, burnt olive and burlwood rose, which are collectively made from non-edible parts of nutshells, almond shells, rosemary, saw palmetto, bitter orange and beetroot. The ingredients are leftovers from herbal extraction and the agriculture industry. The Earth Colors line was awarded the “Gold Winner” in the sustainable innovations category by the OutDoor Industry Awards in 2017.

Paul Cowell, the head of brand marketing for Archroma’s brand and performance textile specialties business, said that the company is “very proud and grateful that Kathmandu selected Archroma’s Earth Colors for their first incursion into the world of nature-based colors.” Cowell continued, “Kathmandu will surely inspire other brands and retailers to explore and adopt eco- advanced innovations. With the help of Kathmandu, Archroma is again showing the apparel industry the way to go, one collection at a time. Because it’s our nature!”

Manu Rastogi, textile research and development and responsible materials manager for Kathmandu, said that the company has “been using recycled materials for over 20 years and we are constantly looking for new technologies to develop more sustainable outdoor gear.” Rastogi added, “Dyeing techniques using plants have been around for centuries, but they require adding huge amounts of mordants and fixatives, which could lead to water pollution.”

“They also tend to have poor light and wash fastness which is undesirable for the consumer and does not promote article longevity. So when we heard about Archroma’s Earth Colors, we were immediately excited by what is probably the first technology allowing colors to be synthesized from plants rather than petroleum while keeping similar performance,” Rastogi said.

Kathmandu has over 160 stores across Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

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