Youth Empowerment in Natural Dye Application for Traditional Fabric

Towards Sustainable Environmental Friendly Fashion Industry, UNESCO in collaboration with Indonesia Natural Dye Institue, Laboratorium Penelitian dan Pengujian Terpadu, Universitas Gadjah Mada - (IND LPPT UGM) and Kita Muda Kreatif organized an online training on the application of natural dyes in traditional fabrics for young traditional fabric artisans and crafters on 16 December 2020. The traditional fabric can then be used for mask making, for instance. Natural dyed textiles' product especially made traditional fabric could offer more values in term of environmentally friendly and healthier process, national heritage value, ethically sustainable and locally support indigenous artisan.

Twenty participants from Kita Muda Kreatif Program, a youth empowerment program being implemented by  UNESCO Jakarta and Citi Indonesia under the support of Citi Foundation, originated fro  North Sumatra, Yogyakarta, Central Java, Bali, and Jakarta, joined the online training. The training materials focused on natural dyes' intrinsic values such as economical, cultures, environmental and artisans' health-friendly values, and the technical process in traditional fabric dyeing with natural dyes. UNESCO promotes the importance of promoting locally appropriate sustainable technologies towards the sustainable fashion industry and collaboration among the artisans. Dr Edia Rahayuningsih, Director of INDI, highlighted that the training aimed to improve the young artisan's proficiencies in the natural dying process and raise awareness of environmentally friendly practices when creating traditional fabric. Dr Indriana Kartini, Ms Esti Anatasari, M.A, and Prof. Catur Sugiyanto, researchers and lecturers from INDI LPPT UGM, presented the various perspectives of the rich values and abundant potential of natural dyes in Indonesia.

The following sessions included hands-on and technical practices of natural dyeing process for traditional fabric delivered by Dr Edia Rahayuningsih and Ms Retno Setyaningsing, an eco-print enthusiast and owner of Amung Godong Ecoprint, Magelang. The dyeing process included fabric preparation techniques, dyeing procedure to the drying step before the artisans can produce the fabric into the cloth mask. This training then was followed by a series of coaching sessions. The participants then tried and practised for a month and a half, using the hands-on natural dyes packages delivered to each of the trainees. The trainers provided online and one-on-one assistance during the self-practice period.

On 26 January 2021, there was a reflection and feedback session to evaluate the training process and progress. In total, fourteen participants turned in their final products of natural dyed batik, tye-dyed fabric and eco-printed fabric. Some participants have also submitted the final product as masks or t-shirts made from natural dyed fabric. The trainers and Ms Darie Gunawan, a Fashion Designer from Yogyakarta, who closely works with local artisans and crafters, finally selected five participants for their best final products. The selected participants will collaborate with Ms Darie to develop fashion items from natural dyed traditional fabric created during the training.

These activities are supporting the attainment of  SDG 4, SDG 5  and SDG 9.

For more information, please contact Ai Sugiura (