Sustainable Tie Dye for a Cause: A Shibori & Spark*l Collaboration

Since sustainability is a core value of Spark*l’s, we are always looking for ways to improve our sustainability and use green practices and materials. This is why we were so excited to work with Shibori by Pepa and Karen to bring you new, sustainable tie-dye bands!


What is Shibori by Pepa and Karen?

Based in Sydney, Australia, Shibori by Pepa and Karen (Shabori) is a boutique design house. Focusing on art-based prints, Shibori has become internationally recognized for its hand-dyed leathers, fabrics, and wallpapers! For Spark*l’s collaboration with Shibori, we were able to use their scrap leather that would have otherwise been wasted! We were so excited to help cut down on their waste and create beautiful, high quality, unique products at the same time! Our partnership with Shibori by Pepa and Karen felt natural, as Shibori’s morals and values of sustainability align with Spark*l’s. 

Image from Shibori by Pepa and Karen


What is ‘Shibori’? 

Shibori is an ancient Japanese technique commonly used to decorate silk or cotton. It uses a process called resist dyeing, which is a traditional dying method used to “resist” or prevent dye from reaching the entirety of the cloth, creating a pattern. Each pattern is created by binding, stitching, folding, compressing, twisting, and dying, then releasing the binding pressure. What results is the beautiful, unique pattern! 

Original Shibori techniques were ancestral and handed down exclusively within Japanese artisan families, and the earliest examples of shibori textiles date back to the 8th century! 


Six standard Shibori techniques

Kumo Shibori

As the most conceptual Shibori technique, this process uses various objects to create patterns. Designers tie fabric around the objects which are then used to resist dye, producing unique dye patterns based on the object chosen to be used.

Miura Shibori

This Shibori technique uses the process of binding and looping to create patterns! This technique is more involved than Kumo Shibori, as the designers pluck cloth with a hook and needle. Miura Shibori designs are more intricate, repeating patterns.

Kanoko Shibori

Kanoko Shibori most closely resembles western tie-dye. Elastic bands are used to tie fabric before dying.

Arashi Shibori

This process uses wooden or copper poles to twist, wrap, and bind the cloth and results in a diagonal style pattern. 

Nui Shibori

Nui Shibori is the most detailed Shibori technique by combining both hand stitching and wooden towels to create resists. 

Itajime Shibori

This technique creates the most strong patterns by using wood to create thick, bold patterns through resists, such as simple geometric shapes. In today’s modern times, plastic may be used instead of wood.


The ‘new’ Shibori method

Shibori by Pepa and Karen has taken the ancient art of Shibori and put its own unique spin on the ancient techniques used. Rather than only dying silk or cotton, Shibori dyes materials such as upholstery fabrics, wallpaper, leather, and wood. 

Thanks to modern technology, Shibori by Pepa and Karen has been able to alter the traditional methods of Shibori dying to fit their needs of dying alternative materials. However, all leather dyed by Shibori stays within the ancient Shibori tradition and is hand-dyed. 

Image from Shibori by Pepa and Karen


Each Shibori-dyed leather hide is unique, just like you!

In its nature, leather is a unique material as it has similar qualities of skin. Each individual hide grabs the dye differently, providing space for a spontaneous, unique design! Additionally, thanks to the hand-dyed nature of each hide of leather, each piece has a different dye pattern. This makes every Spark*l Band we produce unique as well! 


Support Breast Cancer Awareness with Spark*l

As October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we partnered with Shibori by Pepa and Karen to bring you custom, hand-dyed, pink Shibori tie-dye bands exclusively made to support Breast Cancer Awareness. For every Shabori Spark*l Band purchased, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Susan G. Komen organization for breast cancer research. You can check out our Band Together page to learn more about our commitment to giving back to communities and organizations we care about! 



Interested in learning more about the history of traditional Sharbori? Check out the articles below!


5 Things You Should Know About Japanese Shibori Dyeing

The Ancient Japanese Art of Shibori

The Japanese Art of Tie Dying