Feeling blue? Well, we have got your fix: indigo, the color of royalty, is back! Once available only to society's elites, indigo is now accessible to all; you can find it on runways, city streets, home interiors, and more.
Indigo is an ancient dye one of the oldest records of its use is from ancient Egypt where it was used to decorate mummy wrappings as early as 2400 B.C. Today, we trace the origins of Indigo back to India, where it was originally sourced. While many plants have been found suitable for creating the Indigo dye, the most popular is the Indigofera, a plant native to the tropics. An extract from the plant, indicant is then fermented to create the blue dye.
The African slave trade made indigo more accessible to far-flung countries and increased demand worldwide. Indigo dyed cloth was being exchanged for slaves and all manner of goods; at one point the value of indigo surpassed that of a gun. As the slave trade expanded to the United States in the 1700’s, the market for indigo expanded along with it. Indigo was able to yield profits greater than those of cotton and sugar. During the time of the American Revolution cakes of indigo were used as currency, rather than the dollar bill. In fact the original stripes of the U.S. American flag were dyed with indigo.
The high value of indigo made it extremely desirable to high society. Indigo was worn to publicly display the wealth and power they held. During the Elizabethan rule in England, Sumptuary laws dictated who was worthy of wearing the color indigo. By the 17th century indigo was being described as "blue gold" because its high value along with its long shelf-life made it the perfect trading commodity around the world.
Click through the slideshow below of Indigo being produced, worn, and appreciated throughout the world...
Pinterest | Yatzer
Today indigo is not a hue solely enjoyed by the elite, but one of the most common colors in the fashion world thanks to a revolutionary fabric: denim. When people think of indigo, the first thought that comes to mind is the blue jean, an American classic and staple in any wardrobe. When indigo dye became available in a synthetic form, indigo blue was destined to cover the world. Indigo is what gave jeans the coloring that allowed them to conquer the fashion industry; somehow, it ceased to be a "color" and became a neutral of sorts. That compatibility with other colors as well as its undeniable air of cool cinched the jean's spot in fashion history. Originally intended as workwear, then elevated to iconic status by rebel movies of the 50's, today denim is seen on everyone and everywhere. Farmers, children, models, and royals can all be spotted in jeans; it is arguably the most democratic garment ever created. Current runways affirm that denim will be more prevalent than ever. Next summer denim will be strong with the Western trend predicted, so expect classic denim jackets and jeans with large silver belt buckles, fringe, and boots. Another denim-heavy trend that has been spotted on several runways is nostalgia for hip-hop style from the mid-80's through the 90's. For some glimpses at collections inspired by hip-hop influences on denim take a peek at our 80's/90's Throwback research. Denim shoes, chokers, jackets, sneakers and more will be allowing fashionistas to defy the previous notion that there could ever be too much denim in one outfit!
Indigo is also being appreciated beyond the world of blue jeans. Designers throughout the fashion industry will be utilizing this royal shade of blue. High-end designers such as Roberto Cavalli, Mulberry, and Michael Kors have already debuted designs on the runway featuring the vibrant blue. And the world of fast fashion is speedy to follow in their footsteps.
It seems that since its early discovery, the world's passion for indigo has never abated. While innovation and new designs use the coveted shade, indigo is still hitting the runways while paying homage to its decadent history. Many motifs and patterns closely associated with indigo blue such as the Greek evil eye, Shibori dye styles, African prints, Chinese porcelain designs and more are still incorporated into modern-day fashions.
Scroll through some images of Indigo being seen on the runway...
For some great inspiration as to how to include this timeless shade in your upcoming collections, check out our Mood Indigo trend.
How are you going to incorporate indigo into your designs?
We are excited to know!
Sources: NPR | Glamour Magazine | Pinterest | Yatzer | BBC News | Wikipedia | Vogue | Wild Colours
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