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Quarterly magazine of the Society of Dyers and Colourists

Wool dyeing SDC brand Environmental issues that impact on everyone

Issue 1 / 2010

SDC Publications Buy online at: Prices effective from 1 January 2010

Colour Index – Fourth Edition Online FULL EDITION (Parts 1 and 2) PART 1 (Pigments and Solvent Dyes) PART 2 (Dyes and Related Products) Please contact the SDC for prices of additional user or multi-user licences

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Colour Index – Heritage Edition All editions of the Colour Index published between 1924 and 2000 on one DVD-ROM

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Journal – Coloration Technology Coloration Technology Volume 126 Print and online editions subscription 2010 is available from Wiley InterScience; enquiries to: Discount for SDC members, contact:

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Books Basic Principles of Textile Coloration, by A D Broadbent Batchwise Dyeing of Woven Cellulosic Fabrics, by G W Madaras, et al. Blends Dyeing, by J Shore Cellulosics Dyeing, Ed. J Shore Colorants and Auxiliaries (Second Edition), Ed. J Shore (Volumes 1 and 2 purchased together) Volume 1 – Colorants Volume 2 – Auxiliaries Colour Physics for Industry (Second Edition), Ed. R McDonald Colour for Textiles – A User’s Handbook, by W Ingamells Colour in Dyehouse Effluent, Ed. P Cooper Engineering in Textile Coloration, Ed. C Duckworth Giles’s Laboratory Course in Dyeing, by D G Duff and R S Sinclair Instrumental Colour Formulation – A Practical Guide, by J Park Reactive Dyes for Textile Fibres, by A H M Renfrew Synthetic Fibre Dyeing, Ed. Chris Hawkyard Textile Finishing, Ed. Derek Heywood Textile Ink Jet Printing, Ed. T L Dawson and B Glover Textile Printing (Revised Second Edition), Ed. L W C Miles The Theory of Coloration of Textiles (Second Edition), Ed. A Johnson Water Recycling in Textile Wet Processing, Ed. J Kenneth Skelly Wool Dyeing, Ed. D M Lewis

SDC members £39.00 £15.00 £29.00 £32.00 £115.00 £65.00 £65.00 £37.00 £12.00 £39.00 £22.00 £12.00 £12.00 £52.00 £65.00 £87.00 £15.00 £39.00 £35.00 £62.00 £35.00

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E-books Getting Results from Your Coloration Laboratory, by J Park and J Shore (CD-ROM) How to Manage Your Dyehouse, by J Park and J Shore (CD-ROM) Practical Dyeing (Volumes 1, 2 and 3), by J Park and J Shore (CD-ROM) For the above e-books, please contact the SDC for prices of print version (A4) + CD-ROM SDC Textile Dyeing Dossier – Electronic versions of 20 SDC books (CD-ROM)

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£32.00 £42.00

£32.00 £42.00

Technical SDC Best Practice Guide – Colour matching assessment of textiles and textile products SDC Standard – SDC 1/01: 2008 Visual colour assessment of textiles – Method

Prices quoted exclude postage and packing; please contact the SDC for details of costs. VAT is chargeable on electronic media to UK customers, as well as EU customers who do not supply a VAT number. Society of Dyers and Colourists PO Box 244, Perkin House, 82 Grattan Road, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD1 2JB, England T: +44 (0)1274 725138 F: +44 (0)1274 392888, E: W: Charity Registration No. 212331

With HRH Prince of Wales launching the Wool Project at the start of 2010 (see p.4) and the fact that the Society is based in Bradford – which was at one time the centre of the global wool trade and still retains industry based on wool – it seemed fitting to focus this issue on one particular fibre, wool. Alth Al tho ough gh rrepresenting epre ep rese sent ntin ing only 3% of fibre usage, wool must Although have a part to play when we consider the environmental and sustainable issues surrounding textiles. The benefits of wool are many: it is hydrophilic in nature (water absorbing), absorbing up to 30% of its own weight; it does not burn easily (partly due to its high nitrogen content); it has good insulating properties; and it is more difficult to crease because of its resilience. Wool is being used in many apparel types with a main focus being home furnishings, i.e. carpets, where its hard wearing properties make it a desirable product, but it also has uses beyond those that interest the SDC, such as bed fillings and as insulation in the home. The dyeing and finishing of wool continues in the UK with loose stock, top dyeing, yarn (normal and carpet) and fabric dyers, which basically means – with all the ancillary production also available, i.e. fibre supply, scouring, carding, spinning, weaving and knitting – it is possible still to source and produce an almost 100% British product. There is no other fibre that this could be said of. Wool is the most important of the animal (protein based) fibres available and can be mixed with other fibres to alter the characteristics of the fabric. The most important breed of sheep for producing wool is the merino, of which Australian merino has exceptional fineness, length, colour, lustre and crimp, and is the focus of research. The majority of wool processing is now done in China and India, with new finishing processes being developed. However, it is interesting to note that, because wool can be grown in a wide variety of climates (unlike cotton), there are areas of production remaining in most countries around the world which makes the processing of wool unique. Wool will also be the focus of the new annual SDC event Textiles-UK, taking place in October in London (see p.14). So it seems 2010 is the time to start celebrating wool, bringing it forward as a fibre of choice in the future and create an image that befits this fibre. Andrew Filarowski SDC technical director

Theme: Wool Dyeing

HRH Wool Project



Wool Research


Worldwide Wool


Industry News


Technical direction




Colour Harmony


Events Focus


Diary Dates


Front cover image: design by Ella Robinson (See © Society of Dyers and Colourists 2010 PO Box 244 / Perkin House / 82 Grattan Road Bradford / BD1 2JB / UK Tel: +44 (0)1274 725138 Fax: + 44 (0)1274 392888 / / To contact the editor, Carmel McNamara, email:

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Printed on: 9Lives 80 which contains 80% recycled fibres Contributions: Content from this issue is also published on ColourClick; where there is a full length article available, the web address is indicated

3 Issue 1 | 2010

wool dyeing

Major wool campaign launched by HRH The Prince of Wales At the start of 2010, a major promotional campaign was launched by His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales. The ‘Wool Project’ is his initiative to bring the natural and sustainable attributes of wool to the attention of textile buyers, retailers and ultimately the consumer, implemented by diverse groups working together to improve public awareness of the benefits of this sustainable product. Gathering over 130 textile stakeholders from the world of wool – including designers and retailers, as well as representatives from companies involved in the processing of wool, such as fibre merchants, scourers, spinners, weavers, knitters and dyers – the keynote address at the launch was given by HRH The Prince of Wales in which he explained why he believes it to be the fibre that can add immense value to both fashion and interiors.

Industry advocate Organisations who act as advocates for the textile industry – such as the SDC – will also play an active role in the project. The SDC technical director, Andrew Filarowski, who attended the launch comments, ‘Initial proposals have been put forward outlining how the Society, with its remit of education and dissemination of information, can be involved in the Wool Project. Through our conferences and training courses, as well as our work with schools and colleges through the Colour Experience – these will be key avenues to get the message across. The SDC belief that education and training is required for the future of the industry will be central to the role that the Society plays inputting at all stages of the Wool Project.’

Royal backing


At the recent project launch, the Prince of Wales described wool as ‘extraordinary’ Issue 1 | 2010

with the capacity to retain warmth even when wet, but warned the future of the fibre is looking ‘bleak’. He said, ‘The sad truth is that around the world farmers are leaving sheep production, because the price HRH The Prince of Wales at the Wool Project launch they get for their wool is below the costs of actually shearing it.’ (The average Thorley said, ‘Wool is a sustainable, natural product – the production price per kilo of wool in 1997 was 97p, of which involves far lower carbon compared with 68p in 2009.) emissions than man-made fibres. It is The Prince called for wool to be perfect for domestic use as a natural championed because of its sustainability, insulator and is naturally fire retardant. qualities which make it a ‘better product’ We are delighted that The Prince of such as being fire-retardant, and because Wales has helped bring us all together sheep farmers are the life blood of the to communicate its many benefits to the rural economy. He continued, ‘The idea… is to explain public, and help improve the market for sheep farmers across the United Kingdom the benefits of wool to the customer in and the Commonwealth.’ a simple and creative way, so that they It seems the UK is not the only appreciate the impact of the decisions nation taking a new look at the they make.’ lifecycle of wool – see p.8 for a Nordic Project plans perspective. In February 2009, His Royal Highness convened an initial meeting of representatives of wool producers, the Welcome to the newly-designed fashion, retail and carpet industries, issue of The Colourist, which is now a textile designers and the fire service to more feature-led, technical-focused see how the problem could be addressed. magazine. International industry Now with the official launch of the Wool news items are also included, along Project, going forward a major part of the with details of SDC (and other) initiative will be a marketing campaign events around the globe. Each issue backed by wool growing organisations will have a theme, and throughout from the UK, Australia and New Zealand 2010 the following topics will be and companies including Marks and featured: social responsibility, textile Spencer, which will tell the public about machinery and standards. The redesign the advantages of the natural fibre in a incorporates the new SDC branding campaign starting in autumn 2010, and – for the story of the new corporate a special Wool Week will take place in colours, see p.13. September or October. The Wool Project chairman John

Editor’s note

wool dyeing

Wool – the naturally sustainable fibre Peter Duffield

Wool is regarded by many retailers and consumers as a premium fibre but now accounts for less than 3% of the total global fibre market. However, production is still 2.1 million tonnes of greasy fibre from around 1 billion sheep [1] that is processed into more than 800 000 tonnes of wool and wool blend fabrics globally, having a sales value of US$80 billion. As with other textile fibres, the wool processing industry has moved from traditional European bases to low labour cost countries and China is now is now the largest manufacturer, followed by India. Despite its long history as a textile fibre, wool continues to be relevant, as consumers increasingly seek products that meet the needs of modern lifestyles and have reduced ecological impact. In fact, most consumers already view wool as being a naturally sustainable fibre. Developments in wool processing techniques and products therefore continue to be made by industry and research organisations in order to satisfy these and future consumer demands.

Processing The first stage of wool processing is scouring to remove dirt and contaminants. This process was traditionally a major consumer of energy and water, whilst producing high levels of effluent load. Research and development in wool growing countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, has resulted

in scouring plants that minimise water and hence energy consumption, whilst maximising the removal of contaminants. The resultant wool is cleaner, the effluent significantly less contaminated and in many cases the major contributor to effluent load is separated for refinement into a profitable by-product, lanolin. Scales on the surface of wool fibres impart differential frictional properties and consequently an ability to shrink or felt, when mechanically agitated. This property can be of great benefit, for example in the manufacture of felts or milled (felted) fabrics. However, it can also be a disadvantage, such as when unwanted shrinkage occurs in garments or home textiles. Given the ecological concerns about conventional dry cleaning solvents and the inconvenience of such a process for cleaning wool products, shrink resist treatments that permit machine washing have long been sought by wool researchers. Shrink resistance of wool is accomplished by modifying or masking the surface scale structure or by inhibiting differential fibre movement within a fabric. These effects are achieved with oxidising agents and/ or polymers. The most commercially successful of these processes is still chlorination followed by polymer application, even 50 years after its first development [2], but requires significant effluent processing capability to minimise the discharge of chlorinated compounds

to the environment. For this reason efforts to develop non-chlorine processes continue and, although such treatments are available for some products, they are not yet universally applicable.

Fabric developments The chlorine/polymer process led to the wide availability of machine washable and total easy care (machine washable and tumble dryable) wool knitwear. In 1999, Manchester United players even began wearing shirts made from a new high performance fabric that contained such wool. Using the natural water vapour absorbing properties of Australian merino wool, the new fabric – named Sportwool – was a wool/ polyester blend that was proved to reduce a player’s tendency to become wet with sweat by pulling vapour away from the body. Sportwool enabled the team to benefit from the physiological benefits of the fibre, although it is not clear whether the shirts helped the team to their great success in that season. Wool-containing sportswear is now available for many other sporting activities, for which it was shown to enhance performance. Polymer treatments are also now available for woven fabrics that confer resistance to shrinkage and creasing. These have resulted in the availability in retailers of ‘washable’, ‘shower clean’ and ‘travel’ trousers and suits in wool or wool blends. Issue 1 | 2010


wool dyeing

Dyeing performance The introduction of wool products that could be washed imposed new levels of performance on wool dyes. It is fortuitous that the development of reactive dyes for wool [3] coincided with that of machine washable wool. Reactive dyes allowed the fibre to be dyed to a full gamut of shades with fastness performance levels that met new standards for machine washable wool developed by the International Wool Secretariat, with input from the SDC. These dyes are still in use and in many instances have also replaced traditional chrome dyes for heavy, dark shades, for which they provide improved fibre quality and reduced environmental impact, by eliminating the use of chromium salts. For non-washable wool there were significant developments in coloration in the 1980s; not from the introduction of new dyes but by optimisation of dye mixtures and development of new auxiliaries for their application. Lanaset dyes from Ciba (now Huntsman) and Sandolan MF (now Optilan MF) from Sandoz (now Clariant) are targeted at fibre/yarn and piece dyeing, respectively [4,5]. Similar ranges of dyes from other suppliers are now also available and

provide robust dyeing systems for wool substrates that help dyers to achieve the ‘right first time’ performance demanded by manufacturers and retailers.

Finishing Finishing of wool fabrics and garments is critical to the development of functional and aesthetic characteristics that are required in the end product. Milling, which exploits the previously mentioned felting property of wool, is utilised in producing the compact, hard wearing properties of typical tweed fabrics or the bulk and warmth of lambs wool and Shetland knitwear. Blanket fabrics are also milled to generate the bulk that provides the warmth that is associated with these products. Wool has been used widely in interior textiles, for which its stain and dirt shedding properties are exploited. This is particularly relevant in carpets where these attributes and the fibre recovery properties of wool provide excellent appearance retention. This is an area where British wools excel, because of their structure and crimp. However, when additional performance criteria must be met for critical application areas, further chemical finishing processes can

be applied to enhance wool’s natural performance.

Properties The inherent moisture absorbing properties of wool ensure that it has relatively low levels of static electricity build-up, except in low humidity situations. For such situations and critical areas, such as computer rooms, antistatic agents can be applied. The fibre also has good natural flame retardance but this can be enhanced by the application of a flame retardant finish. The Zirpro family of treatments, based on zirconium and titanium complexes, has been available since the 1970s and provides the high levels of performance demanded for furnishings in aircraft and other modes of transport. Wool may be an ancient fibre but it can still meet the needs of consumers who seek products with high levels of aesthetic and technical performance in conjunction with an environmentally sustainable supply.

References 1. International Wool Textile Association, Belgium (2009) ( 2. H D Feldtman and J R McPhee, Text. Res. J., 34 (1964) 634. 3. D M Lewis, Wool Dyeing (Bradford: SDC, 1992) 222. 4. H Flensberg, W Mosimann and H Salathe, Int. Dyer, 169 (Sep) (1984) 37. 5. A Welham, Wool Rec., 47 (Apr) (1988) 73.

Australian Wool Innovation


Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) invests in research, development, innovation and marketing along the global supply chain for Australian wool. And it seems that AWI-driven, grower-funded textile innovations, such as Merino Touch, new lightweight wools and natural and used-look finishes, are inspiring a wool revival in the northern hemisphere. This prediction comes ahead of the recent prestigious Italian yarn fair and builds on the success of 2010/11 Woolmark knitwear innovation collections at the Spin Expo trade show in New York last summer. AWI CEO Brenda McGahan says this forecast wool revival validates the company’s product development strategy of

Issue 1 | 2010

recent years. ‘This prediction is a virtual playback of our knitwear strategy over the past year. Casual looks and special effects – new innovations for wool – have drawn the most attention at the knitwear trade events we’ve exhibited at. It’s proof that our grower-funded investments in product development are not only in synch with the market but in this case guiding global yarn and fashion trends.’ The Merino Touch yarns and knits are based on the Woolmark Merino Soft Classics technology and the Mercerised Merino process. Mercerisation is carried out just prior to yarn spinning and delivers modern features to a classic natural fibre. The innovative features include:

■ improved next-to-skin comfort – merino with a smoother surface ■ easy care and machine washability ■ lustre and softness – symbols of fine quality ■ suitability for blending with other noble fibres such as cashmere or silk to offer consumers a luxury garment, which is both practical and affordable. Advances in technology are the secret to creating the various casual finishes with merino wool. Technical breakthroughs have resolved the issues of poor hand-feel and poor colour fastness traditionally associated with wool and casual finishes. Read all about the Vintage Merino innovation on p.9.

Global studies into the dyeing, finishing and processing of wool have resulted in some award-winning papers (see CSIRO item, on p.8) being published in the literature on a wide range of topics. Three recent studies on innovative technologies that have benefitted from AWI funding are outlined here, two of which undertaken by researchers at CSIRO in Australia and one in the UK at the University of Leeds, with the research published in the SDC’s journal Coloration Technology.

Nanoparticles for novel colour effects The first such study [1] describes how wool treated with inorganic and polymer-based nanoparticles can be exploited in many applications, leading to novel colour effects and other functions which are of interest for the development of new textile products. The ability of wool to absorb large water-soluble species suggests that nanoparticles might be able to be absorbed internally by wool and impart these or other benefits. The aim of this work was to determine whether nanoparticles could be absorbed by wool and identify conditions and nanoparticle properties that favour sorption [1]. The results indicate that the diffusion of nanoparticles into wool appears to be dependent on electrostatic interactions. In particular, it is optimal at low pH in which there are very few anionic groups on the wool fibre; the nanoparticles also need to have sufficient charge to maintain their stability as a dispersion. Practical applications, such as novel coloration, ultraviolet (UV) protection and antimicrobial effects, are possible

Wool Dyeing New edition commissioned

H How do the other fibres compete against nature’s s? inventiveness?

using these sorts of treatments. For UV protection and antimicrobial application, the nanoparticles can isolate the active agents from wool proteins, which could otherwise negate their effects.

Photoprotection of wool Many studies have investigated ways to offer significant reductions in photoyellowing for natural, bleached and fluorescent-brightened wools. Since the discovery that free radicals – formed when wool is exposed to light – are the cause of fibre photoyellowing, in response to this, a recent study has outlined a mechanism for the photoprotection of wool [2]. Photoinduced chemiluminescence studies on treated wool fabrics demonstrated that less free radicals are formed in irradiated formaldehyde-treated wools. The study [2] showed that thiourea and formaldehyde treatment had a significant effect on the intrinsic fluorescence of wool. This demonstrates that a lower population of free radicals is formed in irradiated ‘thiol’–formaldehyde-treated wools as a result of free radical scavenging by the sulphur-containing species and, ultimately, this free radical scavenging results in reduced photoyellowing.

Digital technology underpins wool appeal

is rapidly becoming an increasingly important printing technique for textile coloration. Ink-jet printing is easy to set up, cost effective for short to medium print runs and can result in time savings, especially if only a short print run is required. There are down sides to this printing technique, however, with fabric pretreatment being a necessity as many components required for image definition, achieving good dye fixation, colour yield and colour fastness cannot be incorporated in the ink. However, a recent study [3] employing ink-jet printing for wool fabrics explored a series of modified Drimarene K dye-based inks which were found to exhibit excellent stability, a high degree of dye–fibre covalent bonding and good colour fastness. Through modification of the dyes – by reaction with 4-hydroxybenzensulphonic acid sodium salt – an effective method to improve their ink-jet printing ink stability was observed, resulting in a new process that allows ink-jet printing of wool to be carried out without the need for steaming.

wool dyeing

Research focus


Consumers today expect high performance apparel combined with fashionable colours and prints. Such demands place pressure on wool to compete with the bright colours and print patterns of cotton and synthetics. There is a need in the wool industry for simple, flexible and economic printing methods. In this regard, ink-jet printing

1. D G King and A P Pierlot, Color. Technol., 125 (2009) 111. 2. K R Millington, G Maurdev and M J Jones, Color. Technol., 125 (2009) 111. 3. M Clark, K Yang and D M Lewis, Color. Technol., 125 (2009) 184. Online articles at: www. colorationtechnology

The SDC is pleased to announce that, as one of the first projects in its reinvigorated books programme, the Wool Dyeing textbook is to be revised and updated. Here, the managing editor Prof. David Lewis, responds to this decision, ‘I was proud to act as managing editor and a major chapter contributor to the original book and I enthusiastically support the proposal to produce a

second edition as soon as feasible. Wool remains the most comfortable and appealing fibre for sweaters and suits; I and other wool scientists attribute this wonderful comfort quality to the fact that keratin fibres have been bioengineered over millions of years to be next to the animal’s skin. How do the other fibres compete against nature’s inventiveness?’ Prof. David Lewis, University of Leeds Issue 1 | 2010


wool dyeing

Wool around the world Due to the fact that wool is grown in a wide variety of climates, there are areas of production remaining in most countries around the world which makes the processing of wool unique. Here we share some wool stories from different parts of the globe.

Australia CSIRO: Vibrant colours for wool Wool garments in bright, fashionable shades that hold their intensity over time are now a step closer, after studies reveal how sunlight turns wool yellow. Rapid yellowing of whitened wool in sunlight was first observed and studied in 1956, but a solution to the problem had eluded researchers for many years. Lack of a solution and doubts about how the yellowing occurs, prompted a CSIRO researcher, Dr Keith Millington, to take a new look at the problem. Wool treated with fluorescent whitening agents soon yellows in sunlight, reducing the intensity of pastel shades applied to it. Whitened wool also turns yellow rapidly in sunlight. Radical turnaround In a project funded by Australian Wool Innovation some years ago, Dr Keith Millington and Prof. Louis Kirschenbaum (University of Rhode Island, USA) discovered that the chemical reactions responsible for photo-yellowing are different from what had previously been reported [1]. The two researchers found that hydroxyl radicals form when fibres are exposed to light. These

highly reactive radicals attack the fibres, leading to yellowing. For their insights into the yellowing of wool, Dr Millington and Prof. Kirschenbaum were presented with Gold Research Medals from the Worshipful Company of Dyers in 2003. In early 2008, Dr Millington was also awarded an SDC Centenary Medal from the Society of Dyers and Colourists in the UK in recognition his recent review of the scientific literature on the photoyellowing of wool, published in the SDC journal Coloration Technology. The review captures key research for future scientists and the resulting article was so thorough, it had to be published in two separate issues of the journal [2,3]. This latest award caps off ten years of research into the chemistry and mechanisms of wool yellowing. Whiter wool products Australian merino wool needs to be able to compete on a ‘level playing field’ with cotton and synthetics in the rapidly expanding sports and leisurewear markets, which are especially attractive to the younger generation. Dr Millington is now working in the CRC for Sheep

Photo: CSIRO

Industry Innovation, to develop the know-how and technology to allow wool access to the rapidly growing market for trans-seasonal, fine gauge, next-toskin knitwear, currently dominated by other fibres. One significant challenge is to improve the brightness and photostability of whites and pastel shades on wool. A major obstacle is that bleaching of wool is far less efficient than for other fibres, limiting its achievable whiteness. A different approach is to use genetics to improve wool colour. To find out about the first such research trial, read this article in full at: aspx. More at: References: 1. Color. Technol., 118 (2002) 6. 2. Color. Technol., 122 (2006) 169. 3. Color. Technol., 122 (2006) 301.



NICE: Innovative approaches for wool ‘Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical’ (NICE) comes under the auspices of the Nordic Fashion Association and is a collaboration of the five Nordic countries looking at sustainability and social responsibility projects within the fashion and apparel industries. The ‘Wool Project’ (in association with SIFO) begins in March 2010 to look at the whole lifecycle of wool, finding innovative approaches to Issue 1 | 2010

bringing wool to the forefront in textiles. Wool has been the central textile fibre in Norwegian (and Nordic) history and is still economically important to Norwegian farming, textile manufacturing, retailing and the garment/fashion industry. Norwegian wool has a strong cultural impact; the Norwegian traditional dress is made from it, and decorated with wool embroidery. To read more about the project – and the NICE initiatives – visit

Photo: ejhogben Tone Tobiasson, the editor-in-chief of the NICE website, will be speaking at Planet Textiles in Hong Kong in March (see p.14).

Clariant: Wool goes vintage It is a known fact around the world that sometimes, new things just aren’t meant to look ‘new’. On occasion, customers will want clothes that look like they have been around the block a few times; clothes that look like they have that ‘worn-look’. And we’re not talking about recycled clothes here. Cotton fabrics have long-since undergone such ‘washed-out’ treatments in response to customer demands, traditionally employing time-consuming enzyme or stone wash processes that are required to create such a vintage look for garments. However, wool is traditionally a very difficult fibre to treat in this manner. Comments Keith Parton, Clariant’s head of sales and marketing in the Textile Chemicals Business Unit, based in China, ‘The washed-out effect was, up until recently, a very difficult look to achieve with wool. That has now changed with new technology that allows merino wool to be printed with reactive dyes.’ This innovation in fabric technology (developed with funding from AWI)

FACTS: is ‘Vintage Merino’ which shows the new effect to the full, resulting in the fashionable appearance of an aged garment. Old look, new feeling This effect is produced with a novel application process which utilises dyestuffs that are fast to washing, rubbing and light. The effect is produced in the dyebath, eliminating the need for expensive – and often environmentally damaging – garment washing processes. The process includes: ■ a single stage coloration process, saving water and energy ■ high colour fastness ■ attractive shade palette. Not only does Vintage Merino give a washed-out effect, it retains a quality hand feel – creating an ‘old’ look with a ‘new’ feeling. To read an interview with Keith Parton of Clariant and hear about China’s textile industry from someone on the ground, see p.12.

■ Australia produced the world’s finest wool bale in 2008, which brought the company Hillcreston Pinehill Partnership a top premium for the fibre. ■ India produced the finest worsted suiting fabric ever in 2008. After purchasing the world’s finest fiber, Raymond Dyers went on to produce the world’s finest worsted suiting fabric with 11.6 micron wool (which is half that of the standard wool grade for such fabrics). ■ China has become the largest cashmere producer in the world (1000 metric tonnes per year), with Mongolia the second largest (3000 metric tonnes). ■ Iceland has the warmest wool – lopi – which comes from the distinctive Icelandic sheep. The sheep’s outer coat is water-repellent wool made up of long, tough fibres and the under coat is highly insulating, made up of fine, soft wool; the two fibres are blended in lopi yarn, combining the different qualities of both kinds of wool.

wool dyeing


UK The Natural Fibre Company The Natural Fibre Company (TNFC) is a small concern based in Lauceston, Cornwall. It claims to be the largest small mill in the UK with a wide range of options designed to help fleece producers make the most of their fibre and add value to it. The company is managed by Sue Blacker and works to the following values: ■ Wool and other natural fibres are sustainable, high performance raw materials providing warmth, insulation and comfort. TNFC believes it is wrong to use oil-based or high energy alternatives, particular when such a wonderful resource is finding it difficult to pay its way. ■ When good design is used, these fibres can be turned into classic, elegant and hard-wearing products that reward those who value and care for them. TNFC believes in creating things to last. ■ There is a future for high-quality UKmanufactured goods. TNFC believes

in buying and making local, and aims to source only from Great Britain. The company’s reputation has been built by adding value to fleeces supplied by farmers and turning them into high-quality yarn, with fleece suppliers supported with advice on getting the best fibre from their flocks. In 2008, a dyeing plant was installed, providing an extra benefit for customers. The company now has a capacity to produce yarn in any specified colour, with a select range of ten colours having been developed and designed to tone well with the natural fleece colours. To build on this – to ensure the best possible on-site dyeing expertise to respond to customer requirements – a training scheme was undertaken in 2009. The SDC was approached to offer help and guidance to their young dyers. A bespoke twoday course was organised

specifically for the company’s needs. This will hopefully lead to the SDC being more involved in the future development of both the company and individual staff. Sue Blacker commented, ‘The knowledge of fibre processing that was given to the dyers during these two days has boosted their confidence and knowledge immensely and has convinced me of the need for this type of training for all young people in the industry to allow us to compete and offer a quality product.’

9 Issue 1 | 2010

industry news

Social responsibility in textiles Organisations around the world are becoming increasingly aware of the need for, and the benefits of, sociallyresponsible behaviour. The term social responsibility came into widespread use in the 1970s, although various aspects of social responsibility were the subject of action by organisations and governments as far back as the late 19th century. An early notion of social responsibility focused on activities such as giving to charity and, over time, other areas, such as good labour practices, human rights, the environment and consumer protection, have been included. In recent years, globalisation and the availability of instant communications means that individuals and organisations can find out about the activities of organisations wherever they are based. Issues around the environment are global. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model that embraces responsibility for the impact of their activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere. Essentially CSR is the deliberate inclusion of public interest into corporate decision-making, and the honouring of a triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. A new international standard on social responsibility is currently being drafted (ISO 2600), due for publication in the latter half of 2010. This will result in some common guidelines on concepts,

definitions and methods of evaluation which will benefit organisations in both the public and private sectors. The different sectors of the textile industry – right through the textile supply –are already conscious of the role that CSR can have within their business and further guidelines on social responsibility will, no doubt, be welcomed.

One of the six objectives of the SDC – outlined in the new business plan which is now in place – is to promote good ethical and environmental working practices within the textile and coloration supply chain. The SDC does this, not only by working with established retailers, dyehouses and with government bodies, but also by working with young designers who are just entering the industry and engaging them to think about their designs in a wider concept. From the various events and competitions that the SDC has held previously, it is clear that the designers of tomorrow are not short of new ideas and, encouragingly, are surprisingly well aware of many of the current industry challenges. It is expected the SDC International Design Competition 2010, now launched, will elicit some equally insightful and inspiring ideas. The brief for this competition is once again the creative, imaginative and original use of colour, with a theme of

social responsibility, which might see the entrants considering: ■ What are the opportunities for incorporating elements of social responsibility into design? ■ What impact does the choice of materials have on all the elements in the supply chain? ■ How long are clothes expected to last – is fast fashion good? Does quality manufacturing provide for social responsibility? ■ What do the terms ‘lean manufacturing’ and ‘cradle-to-grave’ mean in this context? The competition is open to fashion and textile undergraduate students. The global winner will receive the SDC Colour Design Award 2010, £1000 and the Veronica Bell Trophy. All country winners are invited to the grand final, which takes place at Textiles-UK in October (see p.14). Planet Textiles is another event which the SDC is currently organising in partnership Messe Frankfurt and EcoTextile News; this exciting new concept is explained on p.14.

UKFT can only be a good thing and developing such relationships is a core part of the activities of the SDC. It is important to work with organisations such as UKFT both to promote British industry and also promote the work that each organisation does to a wider audience.’ UKFT is an association of member companies and individuals

whose aim is to promote the UK fashion and textile industries and as Eric Musgrave, director general designate stated in a recent newsletter to UKFT members ‘at its simplest, UKFT can be a medium for communication between British suppliers and British customers.’

Colour and social responsibility



The SDC has become a member of UKFT (UK Fashion and Textiles) Association. As part of this membership, the SDC has a representative on the UKFT board. SDC technical director, Andrew Filarowski – who will be the individual who inputs into the regular UKFT meetings – comments, ‘The SDC’s affiliation with

Issue 1 | 2010

Under the UK Defra-led Sustainable Clothing Roadmap initiative to improve the environmental and ethical impacts of clothing, a series of industryinformed, evidence-based projects in key areas have been undertaken.

SDC input into stakeholder event Initially launched in 2007, the Sustainable Clothing Roadmap project has since held annual stakeholder meetings to update on projects, with the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan being produced as a result last year. The fourth stakeholder meeting was held recently, in conjunction with the Estethica sustainable clothing trade show at London Fashion Week. The SDC has representation on the Clothing Action Plan Steering Group and is specifically allied to the project initiatives for sustainable design and the eco-efficiency of dyehouses. In relation to this, the actions put forward by the SDC include: ■ organise and develop a series of seminars in India to disseminate the business case for eco-efficiency in dyehouses; this follows on from the Defra-commissioned eco-efficiency in dyehouses project that will see free seminars taking place in March 2010 in Mumbai, Tiripur and Jodhpur ■ develop a project-based activity in relation to sustainability and environmental concerns of clothing Colour Experience: The Defra-related project is currently being developed, which will build on existing successes the SDC has had in the delivery of colour education to schools and colleges. For some years now, the SDC has offered fully integrated learning provision for schools, covering three main areas: understanding colour, colour vision and colour perception. This is now being expanded to encompass aspects of the courses already provided for design students in further education, in which they are introduced to the technical world of colour and, in particular, to the practical issues involved in putting their creative skills to best use. Sustainability and environmental

and deliver through the SDC Colour Experience to schools (see below) ■ provide a range of chartered courses at various levels on best practice in the wet processing of textiles, colour management, fastness testing and the environmental case for this to be run in the UK, India, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh ■ focus the SDC international textile design competition to have a social responsibility theme ■ grow networks, hold events and promote sustainable clothing topics. The updated Action Plan, published in February 2010, is now available online from the Defra website and a full report from the stakeholder event will be published online in due course.

Recycling of textiles One specific evidence-based project under the Sustainable Clothing Roadmap looked at maximising reuse and recycling of UK clothing and textiles. The report of this project, which is available on request, gives up-to-date and robust data on the quality and quantity of clothing and textile waste in the UK, and presents strategies for environmentally sound endof-life (EOL) management, in particular increasing reuse and recycling rates. This includes a detailed assessment of: ■ barriers and enablers to maximising reuse and recycling

■ technical feasibility of options ■ infrastructure requirements ■ examples of best practice. The scope of the project covers EOL clothing (consumer and corporatewear). and textiles (domestic and commercial) In the corporate clothing sector, only 5% of garments are recovered. Whether this is due to the problems of logos/ identification, of security or of the popularity of certain fibre types (notably polyester) that have depressed reuse and recycling below that of other textiles it is not clear. However, recommendations are now being implemented, with various schemes initiated such as the ‘Uniform Reuse’ website, which is a resource to educate and create awareness of the opportunities which exist to reuse and recycle corporatewear and therefore reduce the amount sent to landfill each year. Uniform Reuse is one project of many that have come about which complement the work that the Defra Sustainable Clothing Roadmap team is carrying out.

industry news

Sustainable Clothing Roadmap


DyStar deal

concerns of clothing will be aspects covered in future courses for colleges and schools. Linked with this, the SDC also offers courses for both design and science teachers, with some 40 teachers attending the most recent training day (pictured). To find out more about current and future courses, please contact Richard Ashworth, SDC Colour Experience manager (email:

The dye industry was holding its breath at the end of 2009 as to what was to become of DyStar after it went into receivership last September. However, a deal has been signed, with the Indian company Kiri Dyes and Chemicals Ltd taking over DyStar – great news for DyStar employees and also for the dyeing industry. In February, production recommenced in Germany, under the leadership of Manish Kiri in the position of the chief executive, with the trade names of all DyStar products remaining unchanged. www.dystar. com; www. Issue 1 | 2010



China’s true colours Keith Parton, the head of sales and marketing for Clariant’s Textile Chemical Business Unit, talks about his role in the coloration industry in China.

What is your current job role? Creating a profitable business – supplying textile dyes and textile chemicals into probably the world’s most competitive market place – is not just about selling. It is primarily about understanding customer and consumer needs and building up long term partnerships with all parties involved in the textile supplychain.

What do you enjoy about the work? China’s textile industry has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade. The rewarding part of participating in such growth is without doubt having the opportunity to travel throughout this fast-changing country and to work with its young, enthusiastic technicians to help shape the industry’s success.

What is your background in colour? Graduating as a Chartered Colourist, ASDC in 1983 was just the beginning. The real ‘qualification’ in colour is learning from experience, making mistakes and keeping up-to-date with technological change. Indeed, the level of innovation in textile colours has slowed considerably in the last 30 years, but the real challenge has been to help facilitate the transfer of colour technology from the developed to the developing world.

What skill or qualities have helped you to be successful within your career?


No formal education or training really prepares people to be able to work across cultures. Being able to communicate with people, and motivate them, whilst being sensitive to local customs and cultures is very important. In addition, in China knowledge and age are normally the basis of respect. Fortunately for me, Issue 1 | 2010

having a broad technical background, coupled with more than a few grey hairs helps in this respect.

What do you think will be the key future challenges faced by the industry over the coming years? We are often confused with headlines such as: ‘ice caps melting’, ‘flooding in England’, ‘snow storms sweep across Europe’, ‘typhoons hit South East China’, etc. But, the reality is different. Fresh water supplies are no longer guaranteed. Lakes are being drained to cultivate deserts, rivers are drying up and water tables are falling. The textile industry is one of the largest consumers of water, after agriculture, and as such our industry is under threat. There has been technological innovation introduced into the colouration industry to reduce water consumption, such as low liquor ratio dying machinery and higher fixation dyestuffs, but further innovation is required to reduce or eliminate our dependence upon this resource.

What challenges does the industry in your region particularly face? China is still viewed by many as a cheap source of textile garments. In fact, this is outdated. China has become less competitive in the last 2 years due to its appreciating currency and increasing social costs. Lower-end, budget textile garment production has shifted rapidly to the now lower cost countries, such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and more recently Cambodia. The challenge for China is to adapt to meet the demands of the high-end export market by building in sophisticated design and functionality into its fabrics and garments. In addition, China’s rapidly increasing domestic demand for textiles, and its recently introduced more stringent control of textile polluters may well lead to China becoming a net importer of textiles within the next decade.

Is it possible to increase sustainability and retain a reasonable profit margin? The financial crisis and subsequent

economic downturn of late 2008 brought a renewed meaning to the word sustainability. In fact, survivability became the key focus, with many textile mills, even in China, being forced to close as orders disappeared, literally overnight. As stability returns there will eventually be a revival towards true sustainability. However, we must be careful. The playing fields are far from being level, and there is still a financial benefit to be realised from allowing textile coloration to shift to countries where controls – for example, of effluent – are still less stringent than in the developed world. This is not acceptable and must be addressed. There are still huge opportunities for textile mills to refine their dyestuff selection and optimise their processes in order to reduce and even eliminate effluent discharge whilst increasing profit margins.

Do you have any advice for anyone entering the industry? The IT bubble has burst, the casino bankers have been discredited and perhaps now we can go back to the future. In recent years, the majority of textile students have studied fashion and design, with just a shallow teaching of textile and colour chemistry. Now we need to entice bright, young minds to the scientific end of textile technology. We need new ideas if we are to make the step changes last seen in the 1950s with the widespread introduction of reactive and disperse dye chemistry. We need fresh thinking.

Full interview:

Confused by colour harmony? In the recent highly-acclaimed review article by Stephen Westland and his team at the University of Leeds, the question of whether there are any fundamental laws of colour harmony is addressed. “The search for the rules of colour harmony has occupied the thoughts of some of the greatest artists and scientists. Several colour issues are considered to be important to an understanding of the development of ideas in colour harmony, such as the circular nature of hue, the nature of colour primaries, and the concept of complementary colours. The prevalent view in the literature is revealed to be that it is impossible to separate the issue of colour harmony from the context of art and design. Thus, what is considered harmonious is to a large extent subject to fashion, personal preference and other cultural influences. Many different ideas have been put forward to explain or predict why certain colour combinations are harmonious or pleasing. No single one of these theories seems to be complete or fundamental, and all have been criticised for a lack of explanation (to support the theory) and a lack of evidence to support the claims. Although colour harmony is a multifarious concept that is represented by a range of meanings, a recent analysis of a number of books on colour revealed the prominent contemporary understanding of colour harmony to be one of order, referring to uniformly spaced points in a colour classification system. However, it is impossible to

separate colour from design, with the consequence that fashion and personal preference are primary arbitrators of colour harmony. Colour atlases are therefore useful for selecting harmonious colours only in that they sample colour space in an orderly way that permits one to find easily the colours one has in mind. One researcher states that ‘Because tastes change from generation to generation and according to an individual’s age, sex, race, education, cultural background, etc., it is difficult to establish specific rules for creating effective colour combinations’. This is a commonly-found view in the literature and it seems likely, therefore, that ideas about colour harmony shift over time and between cultures and are applicationspecific. Nevertheless, it can be argued that there is a continuing need in the arts for practical applications of colour theories. It is evident that, despite the fact that colour harmony is predominantly about successful art and/or design, certain concepts seem to have remained intact over time. The value of using complementary-colour relationships, for example, has been established by numerous advocates over the centuries. It could be argued that although the theories put forward by physicists and cognitive psychologists at least provide empirical evidence to support their ideas, they still lack any fundamental explanation as to why certain colour combinations are harmonious. Furthermore, the recent scientific

New SDC colours The colours in the new logo reflect the organisational values and vision of the Society: purple is included to evoke quality, encouraging thoughts of the highest standards; this is mixed with the efficiency, reliability and trustworthiness of blue; and rounded off with warm bright yellow and turquoise to emphasise the young, forward thinking aspects of the new brand. As part of the business planning process, a Board decision was taken

to rebrand. It was felt that a strong, consistent identity which reflects the new SDC vision was fundamental to the delivery of the business plan. The process involved the input of colour psychology consultants, Colour Affects, in regards to the colour choice for the new logo, working with designer Harmeet Sembi to bring together ideas that would result in a coherent corporate brand. To read the full story, visit:

Disks of Newton by artist Frantisek Kupka (1912), homage to Newton’s hue circle that went on to form the basis of many subsequent theories of colour

colour harmony

Colour harmony

approaches seem to be increasingly disconnected from the context of art and design. Thus, the preferences that are empirically determined in the laboratory may bear no resemblance to the preferences and choices made by art and design practitioners in the context of an expressive idea or in response to a design brief.” This is an extract of a review article, first published in issue 1 of Colour: Design & Creativity. To read the full article for free, visit: To subscribe to the journal, email:

Wright theory Angela Wright (Colour Affects) has formulated a scientifically-proven colour theory, which came about from a number of ideas that combine to make a unified theory of colour psychology and colour harmony. At its core, are a distinct number of colour families or groups. There are mathematical relationships between the shades, tints and tones within these groups, not shared with those from other groups. The four distinct groups hold the key to universal colour harmony; colours from the same group will always harmonise, whereas those from different groups never will. A research study, collaborating with Prof. Ronnier Luo, resulted in the publication of a series of three scientific papers: Col. Res. Appl., 129 (2004) 232, 292 and 381.

Issue 1 | 2010



SDC events in focus around the globe Hong Kong Representatives from some of the world’s leading clothing and textile companies will speak at the debut Planet Textiles event at Hong Kong Exhibition Centre on 18 March, which runs alongside Interstoff Asia Essential. At this joint event from the SDC, EcoTextiles News and Messe Frankfurt, the keynote address will be given by Cara Chacon (director of CSR, Patagonia, USA), who will discuss managing sustainable change in a major retail organisation and across the supply chain. The conference will hear executives from leading companies such as Adidas, Lenzing and KIK, Germany’s biggest clothing discounter, with sustainability in the textile industry the main theme of the event. There will also be presentations from experts on eco-textiles from leading key organisations such as the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium and the China National Textile and Apparel Council. Question and answer sessions during the day-long event will be chaired by John Mowbray (Ecotextile News,) and Andrew Filarowski (SDC technical director). The main sponsor of this event, Huntsman, will host a parallel dyeing and finishing clinic. A full report will be available after the event at:

India Dyehouse Best Practice: A series of free seminars in India will disseminate the business case for eco-efficiency in dyehouses. These joint events from the SDC and Colour Connections will take place at the end of March in Tirupur, Mumbai and Jodhpur, and are led by the SDC country manager in India, Parvez Kotadia. Email:

Conferences: Building on the success of the 2009 SDC international conference in Goa, the 2010 conferences will focus on ‘the evolving maze of colour’. The first event will take place in Mumbai on 4 June, with the conference then moving to Coimbatore on 6 June.

UK Technology and Innovation: Following on from the alliance between the SDC, the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) and the Oil and Colour Chemists Association (OCCA) that was set up in Nov 2009 – which will enable collaborative engagement to address global issues of mutual interest and benefit to all members – a flagship joint event has now been planned. Taking place on 8 Jun 2010 in Harrogate, this half-day seminar will look at recovering from the recession Environmental Dyeing: This is the focus of a number of the SDC events taking place throughout 2010 which support the SDC’s first ever special interest group (SIG). Through the engagement of strategic alliances with respected environment lobby and resource groups based globally, the Society has a major role in promoting best practice in the industry. By engaging people with similar goals for

through the use of technology and innovation with key strands: sustainability, resources and water. Details of the new alliance at: Textiles-UK: On 5 October in London, an exciting new annual event will take place, aimed at professionals working within the textile supply chain in the UK from concept to sale, with dyeing and finishing in-between. Brought to you by the SDC in association with the Clothworkers’ Company and the Dyers’ Company, the theme of the event will focus on good practice in wool dyeing, design and manufacture to raise the profile of wool as a useable fibre. The culmination of this day will see the grand final of the SDC design competition, with the global winner and recipient of the SDC Colour Design Award 2010 being presented at the awards dinner. Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council, will present the awards. For more details email: the industry and providing one viable and trusted source for information on the topic, the SIG will be able to influence the industry and create an environmental and sustainable industry for the future providing confidence for the consumer. It is open to anyone, anywhere in the world with an interest in this topic. Read more at:

SDC on the BBC


In February, the SDC took part in the BBC’s The One Show, a magazine programme that includes topical reports and interviews from around the UK. Issue 1 | 2010

Featuring in a special series of films on colour, the SDC Colour Experience manager Richard Ashworth was interviewed by historian Dan Snow

about Sir William Henry Perkin and his discovery of the world’s first synthetic dye, mauveine. Read more at:

diary dates

Diary of SDC events and training courses 24 Mar 2010 Tirupur, India

29 Apr 2010 London, UK

19 Aug 2010 Bangkok, Thailand

Dyehouse Best Practice. SDC joint industry seminar with Colour Connections. Contact:

Fashion in the Performing Arts. SDC London Region joint seminar with the Textile Institute. Contact:

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

25 Mar 2010 Mumbai, India

2 May 2010 Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dyehouse Best Practice. SDC joint industry seminar with Colour Connections. Contact:

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

25–27 Aug 2010 Hong Kong

8–9 Sep 2010 Faisalabad, Pakistan 5 May 2010 Singapore

25 Mar 2010 Bangkok, Thailand SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

26 Mar 2010 Jodhpur, India Dyehouse Best Practice. SDC joint industry seminar with Colour Connections. Contact:

29 Mar 2010 London College of Fashion, UK

SDC Colour Management of Textiles Diploma, Modules 1, 2 and 3. Contact:

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

SDC Competence Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

15 Sep 2010 Taipei, Taiwan 7 May 2010 Nottingham, UK SDC AGM, Awards, Conference & Dinner. Contact:

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

5 Oct 2010 London, UK 18 May 2010 London College of Fashion, UK

Textiles-UK. Conference & SDC Awards Dinner. Contact:

SDC Colour Management of Textiles Diploma, Module 4. Contact:

26 Oct 2010 Dhaka, Bangladesh

6 Jun 2010 Mumbai, India

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

SDC India EC International Conference. Contact:

5 Nov 2010 Hong Kong/Macau

6–7 Apr 2010 Lahore, Pakistan

8 Jun 2010 Harrogate, UK

SDC Appreciation Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

SDC Competence Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

Half-day seminar. Joint event: SDC, SCI & OCCA. Contact:

10–11 Nov 2010 Lahore, Pakistan

12 Apr 2010 London College of Fashion, UK

8 Jun 2010 Coimbatore, India

SDC Competence Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

SDC Colour Management of Textiles Diploma, Modules 1 and 2. Contact:

SDC Colour Management of Textiles Diploma, Module 3. Contact:

SDC India EC International Conference. Contact:

3–4 Aug 2010 Karachi, Pakistan SDC Competence Course – Colour Fastness. Contact:

Details of colour or textile-related events to be sent to: Full event listings at:

15 Issue 1 | 2010

Professional communications require professional communicators

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The Ark Group of Companies – professionals in the art of communication

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The Ark Group of Companies Unit 4 Pudsey Business Park 47 Kent Road Leeds LS28 9BB Tel: 0113 256 8712 Fax: 0113 256 8724 Email:

The Colourist - 1st Edition 2010  

The Colourist is a quarterly news magazine from the Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC) which is published in March, June, September an...

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