colored clothes

Origin of color in clothes, more than 5.000 years of history

Where does the color of your clothes come from?

Have you ever stopped to think where the colors of clothes are obtained?

Perhaps you had not even considered it, but today we are going to tell you some curiosities about colors in the textile world.  

We are already in spring, the days are longer and we are leaving behind the cold of winter. With the floral explosion that nature offers us, we dare to wear garments in brighter and more vivid shades and little by little we leave behind the dark tones of winter. But have you ever wondered where the colors in your clothes come from?

It is clear that today, all color ranges are achieved through dyes of synthetic origin applied to all types of fabrics. Maybe you had not thought about it, but this dyeing process is relatively new if we take into account the origin of the colors in the clothes. From Rafasshop we want to tell you a little about how and when clothes began to have color. 

To find the first records of dyed clothing, we must go back to the Neolithic era, about 8.000 years BC, from which samples of fabric with solidified dye have been discovered. 

Ancient civilizations, such as Egypt, China or India, used pigments of plant and animal origin to modify the color of fabrics such as linen, cotton or wool, which were usually white or light. Depending on the territory, different plants, roots or even elements of animal origin were used to achieve the different shades. 

powder dye colors

The red color can be achieved in several ways, depending on the resources of the area. In the Mediterranean area, the root of a native plant known as madder or blonde tinctorum was used. On the other hand, in South America, a natural pigment obtained from an insect called Dactylopius coccus, better known as cochineal, was used for this same color. With this animal, a grana was made that was used as a dye for red and pink colors. This process was imported to Europe after the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in 1492.  

In ancient Egypt, they used ocher or hydrated iron oxide mineral for yellowish colors, while in India it was common to use dried cow urine to dye garments in this shade.  

In Asia and the Middle East, the use of woad, a natural dark blue dye obtained from the leaves of the biennial plant Isatis tinctoria, was common, as well as in the Mediterranean basin, for bluish tones it was normal to use indigo.

As a curiosity, did you know that in other times there were colors that were reserved for certain social classes or status? This was due to the high economic cost they had. The lilac or purple color was reserved for the upper echelons of society such as royalty or nobility.

For this tone, a dye was used, called Tyrian purple, which was extracted from a mucus or secretion from the hypobranchial gland of some marine molluscs. A single gram of dye needed more than 8.000 individuals of this species.

During the Roman Empire, this pigment was more valuable than gold. Hence, even today, we associate the color purple with power or royalty. 

Color Purple Roman Empire

Still Movie Quo Vadis (1951)

And it was not until 1856 that William Perkin, a young chemistry student, invented purple aniline or malveine, the first synthetic dye in history. From that moment on, W. Perkin dedicated himself to inventing and patenting different dyes with which he revolutionized the textile industry in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. 

color very peri

Even today, new colors are still being researched and discovered. Recently introduced the Pantone 17-3938 TCX Very Peri as the new color of 2022. This year it will be the protagonist of the catwalks and we will undoubtedly see it in all the shop windows.

We leave you here! the link to the Hipertextual blog with a little more information about colors in the textile world.

And you, what color do you want to wear today?

Visit our website Rafashop and take a look at all the colors we have for you. 

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