Colours of Nature

Bettina Reichl is a prototype of a connected thinker. Her passion for science is at least as high as it is for fashion design. Since 1993, the apprenticed designer is engaged in research projects about biological packaging material. At the beginning of 2002, she opened a showroom for fashion and art in Graz and since 2004 she is the curator of international fashion projects in the context of the Styrian event series Crossing Fashion. With her own fashion label ODROWAZ she captures her diverse know-how: jersey and cord, soft and flowing, are tailored in an often anarchic, monastic and at the same time erotic way around the female body.

In the context of the research project “Colors of Nature” by the institute for textile chemistry and textile physics at the University of Innsbruck, plant dyes are explored and the foundations for their application in the industry are developed. During the industrialisation, the centuries-long tradition of plant dyes has been completely crowded out by chemical substances. The ancient knowledge is now being digged out and revived. The ambitious aim of the project: a successful implementation of the product “plant dye” in the textile industry. Alongside the usage of organic cotton and wool and alongside the development of new fibre, the application of plant dyes is a crucial step towards a sustainable textile industry.

Reason enough for Bettina Reichl to test and use the plant dyes for her own collection. From a variety of natural dyes, partly waste material from the woodworking or food processing industry like bark waste, she has chosen tannin for anthracite, nut shell and tannin for beige and Canadian goldenrod for yellow. The fabrics were partly coloured directly at the institute in Innsbruck. The results are strong, bright and completely non-toxic colours. A welcome side effect of the fabrics is their scent of tea which is stimulating the senses.