With worldwide origins, the art form of indigo dyeing has withstood the test of time. Countries such as India, Africa, China and Japan have cultivated the plant for centuries to derive the beautiful dye, using it on everything from silk to denim.
Natural indigo dyeing is a labor of love, as extracting the pigment is a lengthy process. It takes 50 pounds of leaves to make one pound of indigo pigment powder. To obtain a desired hue of indigo, the fabric goes through an oxidation process of air drying to ensure the color remains permanent. The fabric is then washed at least five times to remove any impurities.
Here on Oahu, a signature indigo is enhanced by the dazzling sunshine and rich, pure water. Local Indigo Artisan Donna Miyashiro and Indigo Sensei from Kyoto, Tokunari Fujibayashi, create bespoke pieces in Hawaii from “seed to fashion.” The indigo plant they use is endemic to Hawaii.
The Halekulani Collection, a collaboration between Creative Designer Donna Miyashiro and Boutique Manager Char Kimura, can be found exclusively at the Halekulani Boutique in store or online. Custom-made indigo handbags and face masks were thoughtfully designed and created with perfect harmony of beauty and function. These handcrafted pieces take four to six weeks to produce, and a bonus benefit is that indigo has anti-bacterial properties.