Seed Socks is a functional piece of design commissioned from Studio Swine for New York Fashion Week. It resembles a traveling salesman’s trunk, complete with small apothecary compartments containing dried seasonal New York botanicals that can be used to create your own dyes, as well as the tools necessary to do so. The socks themselves are woven bamboo dip-dyed by hand, and each contains a seed packet and instructions on starting your own dye-producing garden.
“‘Seed Socks’ aims to instigate the cultivation of dye plants on the windowsills and in the disused gaps throughout the city culminating in a plethora of colorful socks on the streets,” according to creators Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. How genius is that? Guerilla gardening has been in vogue for a long time now (seed bombs, anyone?), as has the idea of reclaiming vacant lots, devil strips, and general unused urban space for the creation of community gardens. But why limit these projects to food? Sure, it might seem more practical, but only in the most immediate sense. Why not plant entire empty lots full of hemp, cotton or, as Studio Swine proposes, plants that could be used for dye? If you were in possession of a valise like this, not only would it be easy, but you could look stylish doing so. A modern, fashion-forward Johnny Appleseed of sorts? Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. Until then, read on for a simple homemade dye recipe from the creators of Seed Socks.
Homemade Blackberry Dye Recipe
1. Pick some blackberries.
2. Mix water and sea salt (16:1), put the socks into the mixture, and bring it to a boil. When it begins to boil, turn the heat off and leave the socks to soak in the salt water for one hour. Give the socks a rinse.
3. Add the blackberries to some water (1:4). Cook the mixture for 30 minutes, remove the pot from the heat, and mash the berries. Let the mixture boil for another 30 minutes and strain the pulp. When there’s no more pulp in the juice, bring it to a boil again. Pour the mixture into a beaker and dip the pre-prepared socks. Leave them to soak for five hours.
4. Take the socks out of the dye and rinse them in a solution of water and vinegar. Hang them to dry.
All photos © Studio Swine