Dyeing

After the cotton has been knitted into fabric, the fabric is transported to the dyehouse which, like the spinning, knitting and sewing factories, is located around Tirupur. The dyehouse was built in 2011 and employs 110 people who work eight hours a day, have an hour-long lunch break and two 15-minute tea breaks per shift. The dyehouse uses a closed-loop system whereby 98% of the water is reused while the remaining 2% evaporates into the air and uses a reverse osmosis system to purify all water running in the closed loop. The dye vats are usually very busy as the daily output is 10 tonnes of dyed fabric.

Pre shrinking

All new yarn and fabrics have been stretched during the spinning and knitting processes. When they are exposed to heat and moisture, for example in a washing machine or tumble dryer, the fibres and yarn will shrink, however, they will not always shrink equally or in the same direction. This is the reason why some T-shirts lose their fit after a few washes, and why after multiple washes some T-shirts start to ‘twist’. To avoid this, all of our jersey material is pre-shrunk before it is sewn. The pre-shrinking is done in big washing machines and tumble driers. Despite sounding simple, this is a complex and lengthy process. In order to ensure the greatest contraction and fabric ‘twist’, the fabric must first be cut into panels – the optimum length of panels varies between 4-6m depending on the fabric. After the fabric has been cut into panels, these are washed at 60C and then tumble dried at 80C. Then they are dried flat in a relaxed state so that the cotton fibres can regain their original shape without being stretched. Our fabric rests for 24 hours before being loosely rolled back into a roll to ensure no fabric distortion.

Low impact dying

Our T-shirts are dyed with low impact dye that is verified by both GOTS and Oekotex. This means no toxic-heavy metals are used, and all dyes must meet strict toxicity and biodegradability standards. For all fabric dyes, there must be a full record of the use of chemicals, energy and water consumption. All personnel must wear protective clothing and equipment and have gone through health and safety training before handling dyes or anything else that can do harm to humans or the environment.