There is no place for heavy metals or toxins in our lives so, true to that, they don’t touch our clothes. Colors spring from hibiscus, sustainable wood bark or turmeric to play across our palette - revealing playful themes and variations in the elemental beauty of the cloth.
For thousands of years, Indigo has been prized around the world for its richness, longevity and versatility. By championing natural indigo dye, we are honoring the tradition and history of the process, supporting the farmers who grow the plants, and helping to reduce the harmful waste put out by the garment industry.
When the root of the madder plant Rubia tinctoria is harvested, its already spent at least three years of its life in the ground growing, spreading, and soaking up the earth around it. Madder is one of the oldest dyes around, and for thousands of years it has been the best source of earthy red dye for everyone from King Tut to the British Redcoats.
Myrobalan dye is made from the nut of the Terminalia chebula tree, which grows at the foot of the Himalayas throughout Nepal and India, as well as much of Southeast Asia. Known in Ayurvedic medicine as Haritaki fruit, myrobalan can be used to treat a number of ailments, and is believed to have cleansing properties. On its own as a dye, myrobalan can be used to get a pale yellow color, but can also be considered a mordant because it is used as a modifier to make colors more yellow.
Tannins are a not just in wine - they are a diverse class of pigments that can be found in a wide variety of plants, and for this reason have been used for centuries as a dye mordant to darken and enrich color. Tannins are also powerful antioxidants with a characteristic bitter taste commonly found in “superfoods”.
Oak galls are a result of an immune reaction from the oak tree, and similar to how human bodies become inflamed when under attack from microorganisms, the oak tree creates a large swelling at the site of attack. When the battle is won, the ball remains, rich in concentrated tannins, and eventually falls to the ground where it can be collected to use as a dye mordant and gray tones.
Alum, or potassium aluminum sulphate, is an eco-friendly staple of any natural dyers repertoire, and is one of the best pre-dye mordants. Alum evens out and enlivens colors, and is critical in enabling dye molecules to bind to the fiber, creating longer lasting and more vibrant colors.
Iron oxide (II), or ferrous sulphate, is an iron salt that is used in dyeing as a mordant, or dye modifier, to help darken and mute colors. It also helps increase the lightfastness of dyes, and is a key element in making blacks and other dark, rich colors.
Our eco-conscious range includes organic cottons from Japanese farms, unique blends of wool and woven rice paper, and linen from the flax fields in Japan’s cooler climates - once the source of Imperial ceremonial robes.
Most importantly, each shares a defining trait – a natural material that knows the nature of your skin.
Whether called mentor, friend or older brother, we hope everyone has a person who walks ahead on the path, someone with a hand ready for you.
That attentiveness, that feeling that someone is invested in your path, is the larger story that motivates Olderbrother.
We make universal garments, equally tailored to fit men, women and people.
Self-definition is what guides us personally and we believe it guides our community, too.