WINNER ‘Progress toward circularity’ Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023

A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution

A fashion revolution is in bloom at RHS Chelsea this year, thanks to a garden which re-imagines the link between what we can grow and what we wear.

A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution is a showcase of natural dyes and plant fibres at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022

Created by garden designer Lottie Delamain, the garden solely features plants that can be used to make or dye clothes. 

Throughout history, plants have played a fundamental role in fashion - as dyes, fibres and print designs. The time-honoured dyeing techniques used to create A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution show us how ancient wisdom can be the height of innovation. 

“We can have any fabric, material, ink, or dye shipped directly to our door. We have a bottomless choice of materials from which to design and create. And we are wholly divorced from the practices, skills and methods required to grow and produce these materials. This became the founding principle behind the garden – I wanted to challenge myself to create something using the resources we have readily available, using a restricted palette that would force a new creative approach, that explored the lost connection between plants and textiles.”
Lottie Delamain, Garden Designer

The garden design itself draws inspiration from textiles. Plants are grouped in distinctive blocks of colour, to create the impression of a woven fabric. The garden is punctuated by shallow reflective pools which represent dye baths, with fabric or fibres soaking in natural dyes. A series of paved seams will lead visitors through the planting, in which are nestled two living willow cubes created by artist and Yodomo maker Julia Clarke.

The Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution showcases innovative thinking about how we can use the resources around us (quite literally on our doorsteps) to create more sustainable solutions. It seeks to help re-establish the connection between plants and textiles, reveal the beauty to be found in plant-based dyes and fibres, and sow a seed of curiosity about what we wear.

Today’s fashion industry is dominated by synthetic fibres and chemical dyes. The philosophy behind the garden is about seeing the potential in the resources we have around us (quite literally on our doorsteps) to create more sustainable solutions.

Many of the plants are native wildflowers, easily propagated and grown in the UK and undemanding in terms of water. Fashion Revolution hopes that the garden inspires visitors and  the wider public to see the potential in using natural dyes and fibres, encourages them to try dyeing with plants at home or even create a mini-dye garden, and ask #WhatsInMyClothes?

5 Easy Ways to Try Natural Dyeing at Home

With Summer on the horizon, now is the perfect time to try your hand at natural fabric dyeing. So discover these textile dyeing courses and kits on Yodomo perfect for every age and skill level.

  1. Give fabrics a new lease of life with things you would ordinarily throw away. Learn how to bundle dye with food waste like tea, berries or vegetable peelings with Billynou's online course.

  2. Discover the wonderful (and often surprising) peaches, greens and bright oranges you can make with onion skins and avocados. Billynou's simple to follow E-books means you'll be cooking up a rainbow in no time.

  3. Or, if you're enthralled by the idea of growing your own natural dye garden, then learn how to grow your own colour from scratch with Cordwainers Dye. Their Grow your own Colour kit & guide provides everything you need to get started (with free UK shipping) plus access to their online community and support network.

  4. Discover a world of artist-led processes with Botanical Inks by Babs Behan. The book covers dyeing and surface application techniques, including bundle dyeing, Shibori tie-dyeing, hapazome, indigo sugar vat dyeing, wood-block printing, screen printing and more!

  5. Learn how to create something all natural with Cordwainer Dye's Back to Nature Silk Scrunchie: Kit + Guide. Utilising UK made peace silk, UK grown natural dye flowers and seeds, and European plastic-free elastic, this kit is a pioneer of the microplastic free movement.

Plus, if your taken by Julia's beautiful living willow structures, you can have a go at home with her Random Weave Basket project, available as an online course or course & kit (with free UK shipping).

A Textile Garden for Fashion Revolution was made possible with support from Project Giving Back. After RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the garden will be relocated to Headington School in Oxford. RHS Chelsea Flower Show takes place from 24-28 May 2022. 

For more information about the garden please visit the Fashion Revolution website. Images credit: Dave Watts and Fashion Revolution.

Browse the Textile Dyeing Collection on Yodomo