Fashion Touched by Blue Hands
London based company, Blue Handed brings a sustainability and an ancient Chinese tradition to a global market.
As I was walking down an alleyway in London a gentleman caught my eye. He was very well dressed and was wearing a beautiful indigo scarf with a white floral design. I was intrigued and began to speak with him. He was a designer involved with a project called Blue Handed. Blue Handed is a London based company that works with natural hand dyed textiles incorporated in interiors and fashion. They work with a small family business in China, specialized in the 800 year old tradition of resist printing, a natural indigo dyeing technique. They use only locally sourced ingredients; all items are ethical and sustainable. Everything is hand made, and a beautiful emblem of the slow fashion movement.
The Mandarin name for indigo dyeing is lan yin hua bu – blue-printed flower cloth. Lan Yin Hua Bu refers to the blue grass [indigo] derived dye. The designs are made with the use of powdered soybean and lime for the resist paste technique, and hand cut stencil paper for the intricate patterns. Traditionally used in wedding gifts, these textiles are a symbol of luck, long life, and well being.
Each part of the design and dyeing process is done by an Indigo Master with over 50 years of experience. His skills were handed down by four previous Masters using unchanged traditional methods. It is said that the Indigo Master’s hands are dyed permanently blue from the indigo dye. This became the inspiration for company’s name and logo, which is actually the handprint of one of the craftspeople.
Blue Handed is a wonderful example of cross-cultural appreciation. An ancient technique from an emerging country can be showcased and sold in a larger marketplace world wide, and the craftspeople are able to benefit from this newfound exposure.
People, craftsmanship, quality, and sustainability seem to be at the core of this company’s business, sharing this beautiful art form with the world at large. The end result is a beautiful and timeless piece of an ancient tradition reimagined for a hip global marketplace.