Dyeluxe: Turning food by-products into textile dyes

With the ‘Grave-to-Cradle’ concept from my MA Sustainability in Fashion’s thesis in my mind I strongly believe entire collection could be created in the future through the usage of by-products of the food industry. (

The idea concentrates on circulating these resources that are escaping the entire food supply chain and provides a primary use for such food by-products in the fashion industry. As there are some textile innovations already within this field, I noticed there are barely discoveries looking into whether it could be applied as a textile dye.  So I decided to dive into hands-on research and development of dyes. I set out to find partners within Berlin who would be open to working together to test, create a waste sorting system and supply the successful food by-products.

I concentrated only sourcing from local sustainable juice producing companies. We set up a meeting for preliminary assessment on how they process their juices and what types of residues they have. My partner company produced cold pressed juices, which meant that the waste contained no water in the end (the fresh produce lasts longer) and the fruits and vegetables were pressed together resulting in a mixed content with the exception of turmeric.

In-depth R&D was continued on the turmeric peels only in end to reduce the variables on the dye tests and partly on pomegranate peels. During the formulation of the turmeric peel recipes the ’Sustainable By-product Dyeing Principle’ was formulated. Its five pillars establish a sustainability standard on how to include various food by-products in textile dyes for the fashion industry that is safe for the workers, the consumers, our environment and would be an economically viable natural textile colorant.

Pomegranate peel and turmeric peel used a textile colorants.

The main benefit of using by-products as dyes is that there is no extra land needed for its cultivation and does not compete with food production. After the pigments have been extracted in water, the by-products contain no chemical residues, so further usage as soil fertilizers, bio-fuels or composting is still a possibility afterwards. The dye baths will contain no toxic chemicals that would harden waste water purification processes nor will the mordants. Some dyes could even be reused to extract multiple times pigments from it.

What is great about it is, that the definition of locally sourced dyes is reinvented beyond cultivation to produce originated from local waste streams, resulting in the introduction of new yellow hues and shades to Berlin through a sustainable luxury womenswear capsule collection.

The turmeric plant is the collection's inspiration with a turmeric peel dyed scarf in the background.

The collection’s inspiration draws back to the turmeric plant itself mimicing its characteristics. Two main sustainable development strategies are applied to achieve circular garments; a biodegradable biocycle for the top made from pineapple leaf fibre and mono-material recycling for the organic cotton pieces. To elaborate on how this by-product dyed collection could enter the luxury fashion scene, it is framed around a start-up business proposal called ‘dyeluxe’ and its future perspectives.

Turmeric peel dyed dress and scarf on model.

Click here to see the entire turmeric peel dyed capsule collection:

Follow the discoveries on the fresh Instagram account:

Comments (3)

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How can this be improved?
Federica Parisi
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  • This project is amazing. It goes back to the origins of fabric dying but it combines it with waste up-cycling. Considering how harmful chemical dying is for the environment this solution shines great light. I also love the idea of having a final product that is somehow inspired by the nature of the dye. I'm impressed!

    Nikolett Madai
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  • Thank you very much Federica for your kind words! Yes, I totally agree with you on how toxic the dyeing industry can be and I believe there are alternative solutions if we just take nature as a model in terms of technical innovation and can have very interesting collection outcomes too by recreating signature elements of each food by-product's origins, from the plant or crop itself.

    How can this be improved?
    Mark Turton
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  • Hydrothermal carbonization is a wet procedure that changes over sustenance squanders to an important, vitality rich asset under autogenous weights and generally low temperature '180-350 °C' contrasted with pyrolysis. Parshettietal. used aqueous carbonization technique to buy coursework plan hydrochars from urban food wastes for removal of textile dyes from contaminated water.