Why natural dye?

Why natural dye?

Let’s be honest…
I hold on for a second and ask myself the question: where does the clothes I am currently wearing come from? While I sit here working as an intern with Elephant Dreamz in Ahmedabad, I take a closer look at myself. I am wearing a long (secondhand) dress from H&M, a darkred scarf covers my shoulders. I honesty don’t even know which material it is made of. I guess it’s cotton, produced in Bangladesh. But actually I have no idea. But what I have learned so far is, that my favourite colours are made out of thousends of chemicals. As soon as this shock eases, I always find myself thinking „So what? I was wearing chemical dyed clothes my entire life and never had any problems with that.“ „Nevertheless, I have a social and ecological responsibility“, I answer myself.

Uncomfortable truths
Not to question the detailed production chain of the goods I use in daily life is frighteningly easy for me. And I believe many people feel the same. I somehow know that natural dye is a sustainable and ecological alternative to commercial textile production, but to really justify it, we need to take a closer look at the current state of affairs in the global fashion industry. So I decide to take a closer look at textile production with all its uncomfortable truths:

Lack of transparency
Where most of the clothes are produced, I realised latest when the Rana Plaza accident has happened in Bangladesh in 2013. Bangladesh is one of the biggest (and cheapest) countries when it comes to textile production – next to China and India. Still, six years later, the accident in Bangladesh, NGOs and trade unions fight for better working conditions within textile industries. So in Tamil Nadu, a state in the south of India. Tiruppur, a city in Tamil Nadu, is one of the biggest production places and has not less than 7.500 textile processing factories. While human rights are being violated, NGOs claim more transparency in the textile industry and hold large companies accountable for ensuring decent working conditions in the producing countries.
One of the biggest challenge is, in fact, the lack of transparency. Even though large companies such as H&M now disclose 95% of their supply chain, they’re still being accused of child labour.
Alarming working conditions in India like the „Sumangali“-Principle, where young girls and women are forced to work three to four years before they get their first sallary paid, clearly shows that 95% are not enough when it comes to protecting human rights.

High environmental impact
In 2016 the textile industry causes 5-10% of the global environmental pollution. 43% of the textiles in the EU are made out of cotton. Accordingly great is the power to act as a consumer.

Genetically modified cotton
For further processing, cotton is bleached, spun, woven, dyed and fixed. Within this process thousend of chemicals are used. 

 

 


In addition, cotton cultivation accounts for 10-20% of global pesticide use, although it accounts for only 2.5% of global agar area. In 2015, 75% of the world’s cotton was grown from genetically modified seeds. So is genertically modified cotton popular in India, where it was only introduced in the 1990s and nowadays accords 93% of the indian cotton market. Using genetically modified cotton, local farmers depend on keep on buying new seeds, because genetically modified cotton no longer produces own seeds for planting.

Water consumption
On average, 11,000 litres of water are needed for only one kilogram of cotton. Monocultures and inefficient irrigation systems in particular account for up to 40% of water loss. Due to high water consumption, rural regions in particular are running out of water.

Chemical dyes
In addition, the river water and groundwater are polluted. In many parts of southern India alarmingly high sodium values are measured. Some rivers are already discoloured by the chemical waste water from the factories. Furthermore, groundwater pollution affects the land and becomes barren. Local plants are poisoned and the local ecosystem gets destroyed.
For years there also have been reports of female workers (in the global South and North) suffering from health problems due to chemical dyes. Increased cancer rates and infertility are frightening examples that urgently deserve more attention to keep up the health of workers within textile industry.

Mama Nukas Philosophy

It is always easy to express criticism. Learning from current grievances and trying better requires a lot of effort but can really make a difference. Mama Nuka offers clear answers and alternatives to the biggest problems of the textile industry.

Fair Trade
Mama Nukas transparency video offers direct insights into the production facility and lets the workers speak themselves. In addition, Mama Nuka visits the producer in Ahmedabad at least once a year and ensures above-average salaries. Furthermore, hygienic and health conditions oft he employees are mainly important and always get proofed. The natural dye itself also excludes the health dangers as described above.

Water Cycle
The production of Mama Nukas represents a holistic water cycle. Thanks to the absence of chemicals, the water can be reused after colouring. The waste water from natural dyeing plants such as indigo or madder even promotes the fertility of the soil.

100% Organic Cotton
Mama Nuka are exclusively hand woven from organic cotton and then sewn. In addition to genetically modified cotton, India is also the largest trader of certified organic cotton. Our producer obtains organic cotton from the south of India. Organic cotton prohibits the use of pesticides and hazardous chemicals. This preserves the fertility of the soil and the autonomy of smallholder structures. Our producer in Ahmedabad exclusively purchases GOTS-certified cotton, which ensures both ecological and social standards.

Vegetable colours
Mama Nuka slings are made without a drop of chemistry. The cotton is sun-bleached, plants and fruits such as indigo, madder, pomegranate, turmeric are sun-dried before they give the Mama Nukas their natural colours in a patented recipe. The babywraps are not only plant-dyed, the colours are fixed with natural means such as tamarind, metals or natural salts. Beyond that, the Mama Nukas are washed with ecological soap nuts from India. Natural plants and fruits are renewable raw materials and therefore part of our natural cycle.

Keep it natural
Besides the love for babies and the desire to give them a soft landing and a cuddly start in life, Mama Nuka is concerned about sustainability. For Mama Nuka, fair trade is not a trend, but an attitude. Responsibility towards our environment is not an option, but a must. That is why Mama Nuka relies on renewable raw materials and recycled materials. The preservation of our beautiful nature secures the future of our beloved babies.

Our Mama Nuka Weavings

Our Mama Nuka Weavings

Cross twill-, diamond twill- and fishbone-weaving – if you have any questions about these terms, this is the right place for you. Different weaves do not only produce beautiful patterns that differ from each other, especially in the carrying world, weaves should contribute to the purchase decision. Why? Let’s find it out now!

Many of us are probably familiar with weaving from our school days. We were already able to experience with our own hands how the weaving of different threads produces different patterns. Here comes a small definition to refresh our old memories: weaving is the joining of warp and weft threads. Warp threads run in the longitudinal direction, weft threads in the transverse direction. How the threads are strung together not only affects the pattern but also determines the stability of different weaving-techniques.

For babywraps, a stable weave is particularly important to keep your baby securely in the babywrap or ring sling. At the same time, a sling must also be elastic in order to adapt to the baby’s back. This stability and elasticity are given mainly by the cross twill weaving and the herringbone weaving. It is therefore important that a good sling adapts to the body of our baby carriers without wearing out.

The Broken-Twill-Weaving

has the same pattern on the front and back side.
Has evenly scattered binding points.

Diamond-Body-Weaving

is often felt to be thicker than other weaves. Furthermore, the diamond-body-weaving provides stability as it’s best.

Our Zora baby blanket is out of 100% cashmere and particularly cuddly. It was woven as a beautiful diamond twill weave and perfectly suitable for laying down our babys for them to take some rest.

Fishbone-Weaving

the weaving has the same pattern on the front and back side.

By the way, the name of the weaving is due to the pattern reminding of herringbones in a row.

Lovingly handmade

Although our babywraps have different colours and weaves, the same basic rule applies to each of our Mama Nukas: due to the diagonal elasticity, our slings hardly give way in the longitudinal and transverse directions, but in the diagonal. A real quality feature for a good sling that will -thanks to its stability- accompany you and your baby for a long time. And since our Mama Nukas are hand-woven, they are soft enough to feel very comfortable and save, right from the beginning.

BACK TO THE ROOTS

BACK TO THE ROOTS

In more than 2/3 of the world’s population, babies are firmly tied to their mothers, dads or other caregivers. The reason for this is natural and trivial – humans are carriers. This term was mainly influenced by the behavioral biologist Bernhard Hassenstein in the 70s. He describes man as an “active carrier” which means that babies expect to be carried – evolutionary and biologically. Shown by their gripping and embracing reflexes as well as their spreading and squatting posture when you start carrying them.

Advantages for the little baby carrier and the parents

Moreover, carrying the baby has many other advantages: the attachment to mum and dad is strengthened and the development of the baby is promoted in many ways. When worn correctly, healthy hip development is promoted, babies explore their environment with all their senses, but can also cuddle up to mum or dad at any time and protect themselves in their security from sensory overloads. Being there with all your senses promotes the motor, cognitive and emotional development of our little baby carriers. But there are also many advantages for mum and dad: Baby carriers are often calmer and happier, parents have both hands free and can move freely.

The history of carrying babies in Europe

Nevertheless, wearing them today is still regarded as “alternative” in Germany. However, the fact that babies in babywraps and slings are increasingly once again shaping the cityscape is more a reflection of the past than a new invention- carrying babies was quite normal in Europe until 150 years ago. For example, babies and children were carried in hock coats, which were mainly known in Thuringia.

It all has changed by the time when the first factory pushchairs were produced in around 1840. But those were unsuitable for newborns because they were designed for sitting. Then, in 1880, the invention of the pram as we know it today followed.

Social views of carrying

What is particularly exciting here is the simultaneously changing social perspective on carrying babies. Mother and child were increasingly separated during the epoch of enlightenment, which also had an impact on their appearance in public space. The pram offered (in addition to the fact that the transport of prams was for the first time infrastructurally possible) the chance for mother and child to appear in public space and at the same time to distinguish themselves from the lower class (with stereotypically many children). Last but not least, the pram was also regarded as a status symbol.

Baby Carriers in 2019

The history of carrying a pram ranges from Egyptian high culture to the African continent, Greenland, the Amazon region and Papua New Guinea, and also has a long tradition in Europe, which is far too rarely told.

Unfortunately, prejudices about carrying, such as babies not getting enough air to breath, being pampered or learning to walk later, have established themselves. Fortunately, there are studies today that refute those prejudices. They found out

  • that researchers consider the difference in oxygen intake when wearing to be insignificant
  • that babies learn to walk faster by swinging their legs with the movement of their parents
  • that it’s good to promote the emotional, cognitive and motor development of babys and children
  • that through the bonding to the parents and the security of childhood it is easier for babys to explore the world on their own in future life

Carrying is a natural and great thing! We are happy to be part of the carrying world and accompany families with our ecological Mama Nuka baby slings and ring slings.
So let’s get into the cuddly sling!

THE CROSS WRAP CARRIER

THE CROSS WRAP CARRIER

The cross wrap carrier is one of many wrap techniques to give your baby the necessary security and at the same time promote the correct ergonomic development of your baby! What’s particularly great about the cross wrap carrier is that it can be used immediately after birth and is already recommended as a wrap technique for babies under six months of age.

Human babies as physiological premature babies

It is always helpful to point out that human babies are physiological premature babies and depend on the permanent closeness and security of their parents.
During the entire pregnancy, babies get used to their safe environment, characterised by warmth, confinement and familiar noises. The dense wraparound cross carrier allows the new environment to be rediscovered in a secrure environment.

The fact that babies can hear, smell, taste and above all see their parents remains a feeling of security. With an unexpressive vision, which in the first months enables a view of only 20-30 cm, the recommended “head kiss height” is wonderfully adapted to the visual perception of the babies.

For parents, the weight is evenly distributed between the shoulders, back and hips. It is particularly advantageous when carrying in young months that parents build up more muscles with the growth of the baby and thus get used to the weight – slowly increasing.

Orientation aids with our Mama Nuka babywraps

Thanks to the central marking and the colour-coded head edge, our Mama Nuka baby slings are super orientation aids that are ideal for beginners and at the same time stand out due to their beautiful design. Our diagonal-elastic weave provides the necessary support and at the same time is so elastic that it adapts perfectly to the body shape of your baby without wearing out! Always make sure that your baby’s head and body are sufficiently stabilised. To stabilize your neck and head, you can, for example, use gauze diapers.

For more informations please take a closer look to our instructions. 😊