It’s 4 a.m. in the morning and I’m left out without balance in my cellphone some 20 km from my hotel in Tirupur. Luckily there are several rickshaws parked who are willing to take me for 200 rupees. I get to my hotel, not sure whether to sleep or stay awake until my contact comes to pick me up. I slept. But not enough cause my contact didn’t pick me up until 12 midday!
Anyway, so here I am, in the Hub of knit in India. Tirupur is called and it’s a horrible city with no charm whatsoever. A polluted smelly river dividing the city into two parts, equally dirty. Yes, if your t-shirt was made in India, it was probably done here.
And then again, the best of India is that you can get the two extremes in the same place. From the most horrendous images to breathtaking ones. And I got my breathtaking one when I saw for the first time yarn dyed knit. Now you can see the pictures, isn’t it something?
So despite the uncomfortable traveling, lack of sleep, and inhaled pollution, I have to thank Philip Florance for this chance.
A Biker in spirit, with more than 20 years living and breathing fashion has recently designed these fabrics for his brand Indigo Couture. Focused on Café Racers, a light-weight, lightly-powered motorcycle optimized for speed and quick rides over short distances, this new product won’t see the light on nearby shelves until next april 2016 if everything comes as planned. The thing about slow fashion, is that you have to care more for the product, independently of the seasons. So we are expecting a high quality garment focused on the details and a very elaborated fabric.
As already mentioned, this fabric has been yarn dyed in naturally grown fermented indigo. Which means that every yarn has been dyed individually by hand in pots maintained over decades now with the same dying water. Just imagine the attention each pot needs.
And the same attention was needed for the selection of the yarn and the knitting process. An amazing quality fabric, but not suited for fast fashion production. Due to the roughness the Indigo imprinted in the yarn, during the knitting process it broke in several occasions making holes and ladders here and there. However, with care and attention, changing speed and controlling needles Philip Florance ended up with a magnificent fabric ready for more care in the finishing line.
Philip’s passion for Indigo started when he developed the same fabric but in chemical dyes back in the 80’s. It wasn’t only the color and the look, it was how it aged within the knit fabric why Indigo became his ‘raison d’être’.
But the traveling had not been easy. Started 5 years back with different suppliers dying the yarn and doing the knitting in Australia, but the resulting fabric was always a loss. It wasn’t until recently when perhaps Philip finally understood that to achieve this fabric what he needed was care and attention from all sides. And the knitting had to be done in this way, even so if stopping every 5 minutes to adjust the needles. And that can only be achieved by the supplier who is risking his business on his promise.
Despite the failures and the economic loss, commitment is everything in terms of achieving a sustainable fashion. Commitment to oneself, to your ideas, to your believes and, on the long term, to your supplier.
Philip’s website Indigo Couture is up and running with the final results. Faithful to his ideas you can see how good his fabric looks on a Harley! And don’t miss on the little details… Good attention to his packaging!