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Indigo dye turns fashion brand O0u's shop-floor cast-offs into limited edition collection

It's a hazard of fashion retail that after garments are taken into fitting rooms, they aren't always fit to be sold. Coffee is spilled, make-up rubs off, a toddler's grubby hands grab hold of a skirt... To ensure those unsellable clothes don't end up in landfills, Japanese skincare brand Sekkisei is partnering with fashion brand O0u.

This year is Sekkisei's 15th of supporting ocean conservation projects through its Save the Blue initiative. As part of Save the Blue, the brand has taken soiled garments donated by O0u and had them dyed indigo by artisan dyers at Buaisou, based in Kamiita Town, 'the home of indigo.' Buaisou only uses natural ingredients to dye fabric, with a liquid fermented from mussels, wood lye, bran and shell ash. Maison Kosé in Ginza will sell the resulting collection of one-of-a-kind garments to fund Save the Blue. Since a limited number of items will be available, they'll be sold to customers selected by lottery.

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Through a combination of overproduction, excessive consumption and harmful manufacturing processes, fashion has become one of the most wasteful and polluting industries. Sekkisei and O0u's initiative highlights this wastefulness while offering a pragmatic solution, albeit on a small scale.

Scaling up this concept appears viable. Given the timeless appeal of indigo blue, we could see fashion retailers allocate a permanent rack to 'saved by indigo' clothing, adopting re-dying as a standard practice to prevent the disposal of items that are stained but otherwise in excellent condition.