Founders Kiat Yen and Johan Van de Berg had always shared a certain affection for traditional craftsmanship and passion for preserving these authentic techniques. The two men encountered Indigo artisans in Asian communities struggling to preserve their cultural heritage, as grandmothers and mothers were unable to pass on their crafts to future generations with children moving out to cities in pursuit of higher education and jobs. And this is what inspired Indigo People: an initiative that looks to bridge the gap between traditional weavers, artisans, their techniques and the modern world with its fast-moving trends – keeping history and heritage alive within the folds of contemporary fabric.
Indigo People was founded back in 2013, and since then it has endeavored to combine contemporary designs with traditional weaving and dyeing techniques. The organization reaches out to traditional weaver communities in Asia, where hand looming and indigo dyeing have been practiced for generations. Every community has their distinct methods for dyeing, with Ikat weaving and Batik printing among the most common techniques used.
Their thread-to-rack idea purports that every piece of clothing produced by the Indigo People is unique and special in their own ways – with small imperfections owing to handcrafting spread out across the fabrics, giving them a certain degree of natural ruggedness that machine-made clothing will never have. Inspired by vintage Sashiko, Shibori and Ikat textiles, traditional designs are recreated and modernized into contemporary denim wear that’s sold in select regions all over the world, and in denim concept stores all over Europe.
The world abounds in ancient techniques and craftsmanship that have been getting lost over the past few decades amidst the cacophony of machines and technology. These abandoned arts and crafts, once lost, will be impossible to trace back and rejuvenate. Which is why, the call for organizations like the Indigo People have gained more importance today, than ever before.