What is indigo?

Our hands-down #1 favorite naturally-dyed color is indigo.  It’s our best-selling color for a reason… it’s so beautiful!

But do you really know what “indigo” is?

indigo plant.jpg

Indigo comes from several plants

Well, indigo is a dye that is derived from plants (there are actually several different ones).  Most commonly, the leaves are used to make the indigo dye, and there are indigo plantations around the world that produce the dyes.  We get our indigo dye from our neighbors in El Salvador, and it comes in powder form as seen in the bowl below.


Have you ever seen the indigo dyeing process?  It’s pretty magical because the classic navy blue color sets with exposure to oxygen and light – this means that it takes a moment for the colors to turn blue.  Take a look at this video, at about 7 minutes you can see the transformation of the yarn coming out of the indigo vat:

It’s pure magic!

The cool thing about indigo is also that it can traditionally be found all over the world…. think Japanese kimonos, Indonesian batik, and the beautiful handwoven textiles from Mali.

Japanese Kimonobatikmali indigo

All indigo.  All over the world.  Loved because of the strong dyes that don’t fade easily.  Indigo is also said to repel insects, snakes, and even fire – so wearing something dyed with indigo can come with some really practical benefits, too.

Intrigued? Take a look at this BBC video highlighting an indigo dyers in Nigeria.

It’s no surprise that we are all attracted to this deep blue color.  I wonder if it might even be ingrained in us in an evolutionary way – the way green nature calms humans, maybe the indigo blue has the same effect.

Whatever the reason behind our attraction to indigo… there’s just no beating this classic color.  It’s just a great, go-to staple.  Don’t you think?

Make sure to check out our Hummingbird Collection and our Quetzal Wraps in particular.  The intricate ikat designs made by our partner cooperative of weavers are just beautiful.

Hummingbird Collection by Kakaw Designs

Hummingbird Collection

Quetzal Wrap by Kakaw Designs

Quetzal Wraps – both color options have Indigo









One thought on “What is indigo?

  1. Pingback: Natural Dye Story: Palo de la Vida | Kakaw Designs

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