Deki Natural Dyes (DND) is the recipient of the National Energy Globe Award 2022 from the Independent Energy Globe Foundation based in Austria
A testimony of the country’s rich and unique culture specializing in natural dyes, organic yarns, and hand woven fabrics, Deki Natural Dyes (DND) and Handicraft is an eco-friendly and green sustainable social enterprise.
Tshering Choden, the current torchbearer of the family tradition said that DND is not just in the business of creating textiles but they are on a mission to challenge and counter the detrimental effects of fast fashion.
Tshering shared that their mission is clear where they want to champion the use of natural dyes derived from medicinal plants and vegetable waste while also advocating for sustainable practices in the textile industry.
“The approach involves crafting sustainable and regenerative fashion clothing, marking a significant departure from the wasteful and unsustainable practices often associated with the fashion industry,” Tshering said.
For instance, DND was honored with the National Energy Globe Award 2022 by an Independent Energy Globe Foundation based in Austria for their project titled ‘Sustainable Ewear.’
DND introduces Project Sustainable Ewear, to promote an eco-friendly and green social enterprise that deals with naturally grown dyes and organic yarns such as yarns out of nut husk, nettle plant, cotton, and wool.
In addition, to developing products that are biodegradable, durable, clean, and healthier for the human body and the environment alike, the project also reinvigorates the dying culture of home-based traditional organic yarn production and weaving, thereby providing solution to the globally dominated fast fashion and synthetic fabrics.
The project’s main objectives includes empowering rural and economically marginalized communities through enhanced supply chain development as suppliers of organic fibres, building the capacity of local communities in sustainable harvesting, storing and packaging of organic fibres and dyeing materials.
Amongst others, the objective includes creating alternative livelihood to the communities, enhancing living conditions of the local communities through improved economic standings, conserving traditional and indigenous knowledge and arts to promote eco-tourism niche markets.
According to Tshering, the project also aims in creating entrepreneurship knowledge and practices in the rural communities. Innovative value addition to organic wastes particularly areca nut husks by using them as fiber raw materials for yarn production and the waste water as natural dyes.
“With this award, I aspire to inspire countless young generations and artists, demonstrating that sustainable efforts can garner recognition,” Tshering said, adding that the Energy Globe Award symbolizes the potential to motivate others, fostering a spirit of international competition in the pursuit of impactful and sustainable works.
Meanwhile, DND not only serves as a sustainable green eco-friendly but it also helps locals with trainings in natural based weavers, where DND has trained over 500 women and in addition, youths were also engaged and it also focuses on climate action mitigation, amongst others.
Tshering Choden shared that they are committed to advancing the science of extracting natural dyes from plants and vegetable waste. “Our goal is to raise awareness about the benefits of natural dyes in the textile industry, promoting their use and thereby contributing to a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible approach to textile production.”
In addition to their environmental objectives, DND is deeply interested in preserving Bhutan’s traditional culture and techniques. They recognize the cultural significance of natural dye extraction, dyeing, and weaving in Bhutan’s heritage. They strive not only to keep these traditions alive but also to pass down the art and science of extracting natural dyes and dyeing yarns and fabrics to the next generation.
For instance, they are committed to ensuring that Bhutanese culture and tradition remain vibrant and thriving by nurturing the knowledge and skills necessary for the art and science of natural dye extraction and textile production to endure.
With the award, Tshering shared that she thrives to collectively uplift and contribute towards the success of Bhutan with her utmost dedication and hard work as a social entrepreneur.
“His Majesty’s speech and concerns serve as my driving force towards working hard as a social entrepreneur,” Tshering said, adding that while this award recognizes DND, her aim is to inspire younger generations in Bhutan to create opportunities with the right alignment of attention and intentions.
“As a mentor volunteer, I encourage collaboration, emphasizing that together we can uplift each other and contribute to the collective success of Bhutan,” Tshering said.
Her long term vision is to help, mentor and create more green entrepreneurs and to create an ecosystem for the entrepreneurs, especially women, to realize their dreams as a way of giving back to the society.
Meanwhile, DND aspires to make a lasting impact. They aim to popularize the sustainable production of fibers, yarns, fabrics, and garments using natural dyes, adhering to principles of zero waste and a circular economy.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu