Hand-woven scarves printed with pollution

Designer Kelly Gijsen of Maj Studio worked with various weaver families in India to make hand-woven scarves, which are dyed with natural dyes and printed with Air Ink, made from pollution.

Frustrated about the current state of the fashion industry, Gijsen decided that as a designer, she would only create products with a transparent and fair production process. She independently travelled to India to research textiles and document the textile industry. Without any existing contacts, she managed to reach special places, from factories that produce Dutch brands to cotton plantations.

Gijsen also met various weaver families that produce hand-woven fabrics. The fabrics are dyed with natural pigments. Red colours come from madder rood, sappan wood and the lac insect, blue is made from the indigo plant, and yellow comes from turmeric and pomegranate. Some fabrics are also printed, using a block print technique. The desired design is cut out of hardwood, which are dipped in dye and stamped onto the fabric.

Gijsen bought unprinted fabrics to make her scarf collection, which she printed herself using Air Ink. This ink, developed by the company Graviky, is made from the soot of burned fossil fuels. When left in the air, soot can cause lung diseases like asthma and even premature deaths. Graviky’s process detoxifies heavy metals and particle carcinogens from the soot and turns it into ink. Read more about this material here.

In September, Gijsen returns to India to produce more scarves, which will be for sale.

Photos: Kelly Gijsen