Stony Creek Colors developed the new IndiGold concept as what it claims is the world’s first pre-reduced natural indigo dye, which was then developed with Archroma to offer the “first” plant-based alternative to synthetic pre-reduced indigo.

The dyestuff will be sold as a 20% concentration in a soluble liquid form that displays similar performance to comparable synthetic indigo products available on the market, the firms say.

Stony Creek extracts its dye from proprietary Indigofera plant varieties grown in partnership with family farms as a regenerative rotational crop. The company has been selling its US-grown indigo to denim mills since 2015.

The pre-reduced plant-based indigo partnership took root in 2020 when Stony Creek was looking to work with like-minded partners to produce the new dyestuff at scale.

Archroma supported Stony Creek Colors with extensive pilot-scale manufacturing trials and engaged with its network of denim machinery manufacturers to test the first samples in industrial conditions. The trials were said to show excellent coloration and the typical indigo wash down, as with synthetic indigo.

Archroma will now produce the first batches of IndiGold in Salvatierra, Mexico, and has other locations where the product could be made. The company will support Stony Creek Colors through its manufacturing and logistics capabilities, and its expertise in denim dyeing with customers using pre-reduced indigo.

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“For years our consistent powder and paste products have been able to fill a void in the marketplace for denim mills needing verifiable plant-based indigo. We, along with many in the industry, see IndiGold as the holy grail for indigo dyeing and are ecstatic to now be bringing it to life with such a reputable partner as Archroma. The coupling of our two technologies allows us to fulfill the ultimate desire from our customers for an easy -to-use, pre-reduced liquid formulation that stems from a 100% plant-based supply”, says Sarah Bellos, CEO and founder of Stony Creek Colors.

Heike van de Kerkhof, CEO of Archroma, adds: “I am very proud that Archroma supports Stony Creek’s project. We shared the same vision that plant-based pre-reduced indigo can be scaled up and colour the nature-friendly collections that denim brands and retailers have been dreaming of, and we are pleased to help bring it to the market.”

While the development was underway, global innovation platform Fashion for Good selected Stony Creek Colors as an innovator in its global Innovation Program. The programme connects brands with innovators to work together to test, validate and ultimately scale disruptive innovations in the fashion industry to drive positive impact.

Through the programme, Fashion for Good facilitated a collaboration between brand partner Levi Strauss & Co and Stony Creek Colors which was announced in December 2021. The partners will pilot the use of IndiGold in denim mills at scale, with the goal of unlocking key learnings around shade application and other efficiencies of this new dyestuff.