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Botanical Alchemist | Organic Fashion Designer

Posted on 11 July 2011

Was surfing Etsy last weekend, minding my own business, when I came across a mystic from North Carolina named Andrea Crouse. Check her out. That's Andrea (above), modeling her Tulsi dress in organic stretchy wool.

Here she is (above) in her super foxy fall shirt made of organic hemp/cotton with pin tucks in all the right places around the waist. As many of you know, I've declared Mondays to be "Mystic Mondays" - help me find mystics like Andrea. They inspire me, feed my soul, and hopefully feed your soul too. Planning a green wedding? Here's THE DRESS.... made of organic stretchy wool. Lusciousness.

Now I'm always looking for what to wear to the office that doesn't disrupt my hormones. How 'bout this number?

As Rachel Zoe would say: Bananas. I asked Andrea quatro preguntas. SG: What draws you to natural dyes? Andrea Crouse:  I love the idea of working more directly with nature's color bounty and discovering different plants, insects, and minerals that can yield hues that are impossible to get with synthetic dyes. I was also drawn to them out of a desire to find the most eco-friendly way to impart color on my clothing. However, I have come to realize that each have there limitations and some naturals dyes can be very dangerous too.

SG: Have you noticed any health benefits since changing to nontoxic clothing? Andrea Crouse: I started wearing almost all organic clothing when I was in my early 20s so I didn't really have any health problems that went away. However, one of the reasons I decided to work exclusively with organic fibers was my father being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was a teenager. At that time they where linking the disease to prepubescent exposure to an environmental toxin. As a boy my father spent summers swimming in a Lake that was later found to have batteries dumped there during that time. I wasn't sure what I was going to do as an adult but I did know that it had to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Above: Andrea's Babydoll dress in hemp/organic cotton with the yummy pin tucks all the way 'round the waist. SG: What are the challenges to working with organic fabrics and natural dyes? Andrea Crouse: Because organic fabrics change from season to season much more then GMO or super controlled crops, it is impossible for me to be super consistent with my colors. I have noticed the same fabric will take the same dye in different ways from one roll to the next. The type of clothing I can make is limited to what is possible with plant fibers.....however, this is a wonderful challenge that I enjoy!

SG: What are the benefits of working with organic fibers and natural dyes? Andrea Crouse: I know that the materials I am working with are safe for my family and clients and of course the beautiful planet we call home.  I'm providing green jobs for my community.  There are always new and amazing advances in the organic world that I get to incorporate into my designs while at the same time working with these materials is deeply connected to human history and a time when natural materials where all we had. SG: OK, friends. You heard it here first. Now, I need to get me some organic undies. Ideas? Andrea, can you hook me up?

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