Ah… but what is black……?

50 shades blackSo this morning,  as one of our colleagues left the office, there was a comment that the black in the two garments being worn were different.

The response of ” ah… but what is black?” gained an initial response that cannot be repeated in polite blogging company.

The second comment about there being red blacks and green blacks is much more publishable and brings us back to an old favourite for the textile industry:  colour description and standardisation.

When we dye a garment black, do we really consider the colour ? 

In my experience in the dyehouse,  we had ‘Dyers Black’,  which was used to hide all the mistakes of the week and was usually dyed on a Friday afternoon.

If the designers did want a shade of black dyeing for greige material, there was never really a specification – it was just dyed ‘black’ and sent.  I do not remember matching the shade in the same way we would approach other shades.  With 6-7% of dye in the mix anyway, adding 0.5% of red or blue  seemed hardly worth it.

Maybe this was the first instance of Right-First-Time dyeing:  as long as it met the rub fastness requirement, we were happy and off it went into the mill.

This is not to say that this kind of dyeing gives an easy life to the dyer!  The effluent and fastness problems associated with high % dyeing are well known and do indeed cause many problems.

These should be controlled and dealt with but, putting this aside,  I just wanted to pay tribute this morning, to a colour that is always there, always loved and always different.


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