Do you know Aomori prefecture in Japan? Aomori is located in Tohoku region.
Aomori is known as apple-growing area. Their apples are now exported and are getting high reputation with the quality.
From Aomori, we heard an exciting news. They have develped new technique of ai, Japanese indigo dye stuff.
Traditional ai-dye is made by natural fermented indigo (this page shows the natural ai dye procedure).
They use sukumo, composted leaves of tade ai(Polygonum) . As you could see, the deep and rich ai color was born through the complicated procedure with hard work.
Aomori prefecture had history of traditional ai-dye industry, and recently Aomori ai industry cooporation has develped the new method of ai-dye using ai powder. They have made it successful of atomization of ai leaves and made them as dye stuff.
The representative of the cooporation, Hisayuki Yoshida was telling in his interview, that they could try this method because he was not from real ai dye field but new to this field. He said he could not do this if he was a real traditional ai-dyer. He just wanted to develop something from Aomori for the regional promotion.
They have made the data into numerical conversion and succeeded to make 8 different ai colors which can be produced anytime. That made it possible to market their product to fashion brand, because they can made these colors with stability.
Deep rich ai color was highly esteemed, the colors are deeper, they are esteemed higher. The new method of dyeing can make the variation and it seems lighter blue is popular now.
By the collaboration with ai growing farmers, they are planning to expand the dye stuff usage for other things, not only apparel business. Compared to sukumo(fermented ai dye stuff), the time to take this new dye method to dye fabrics is 1/20.
Of course you cannot compare the traditional method and the new method simply. The deep rich blue has been loved for such a long time and people enjoy and treasure the tasteful color. Ai color has been loved and will be loved surely in future too-the color is always around no matter how fashion changes. Some people may think only the traditional ai- dye method can made real and tasteful color.
However, being able to supply 8 different ai colors always, may have a lot of possibility for the local prefecture industry. We like to be watching how they expand the new method.