Digital textile printing needn't look digital, it's simply a process by which a piece of artwork is printed onto cloth using a digital printing machine. Age of Reason artwork is all done by hand; the quirks and imperfections are deliberately left in the final print. Other brands who use the same digital printing process as Age of Reason include Erdem, House of Hackney, Athena Procopiou, Silken Favours, Liberty London, Emma J Shipley, Mary Krantzou, and Temperley London.
A vibrant digitally printed scarf uses hand painted and photographic elements.
Apart from yielding stunning results, digital textile printing is a positive choice because it uses less water and chemicals than most other printing methods. Few people realise that traditional printing and dyeing methods like Batik, wax resist, tie-dye and mud resist and screen printing use an enormous amount of dye and water. But rather than feel depressed about it, we hope you'll feel empowered, informed and have fun seeking out more sustainable choices.
Ali was inspired by the cloth dyers in Marrakech
One of the worlds most beautiful, ancient dyes - natural indigo is harmless, but the process used to make it adhere to fabric is toxic. Indigo binds externally to the cloth's threads, helped by a highly poisonous chemical agent called a mordant. It sounds like bad news for buying denim, but the good news is that brands like AG Jeans, are using a more sustainable ozone technology to make great jeans in Los Angeles- and the results are great.
Indigo is harmless on it's own- but it won't stick to fabric without toxic mordant
Ali grew up in the African mountain kingdom of Lesotho, where some of the world's most famous denim brands dye cloth near some of the world's most beautiful rivers and mountains. Sadly the environment and people have been very badly affected by water pollution. Some villages have lost their only source of clean water.
The mountain kingdom of Lesotho is home to the source of the Orange River
In the global fashion market it's very difficult to know which manufacturers are working responsibly. A staggering 893 cloth dying and printing businesses were recently closed in Rajasthan, India because their untreated water was flowing directly into rivers. By contrast traditional Indian block printing is still relatively eco-friendly because it uses very little dye. Brands like Good Earth India and Sarah Waterhouse use this more sustainable method to make beautiful homewares.
Block printing is beautiful and uses less water than many traditional methods
So how do we make the right choice about print? There's no simple answer, but a good place to start would be to buy digital print, or when buying traditional Asian print, seek out block printed fabric, or look for brands with safe accreditation marks. Some key marks to look out for internationally are Fair Trade, Soil Association and Global Organic Textile Standards. We hope you enjoy seeking out some more eco-friendly choices!
You can find out a bit more about how we make our scarves, cushions and clothing, including our British Made pieces HERE. If you'd like to know more, please get in touch here or on social media using the links below.