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KNOWLEDGE

INDIGO

Knowledge Indigo refers to a deep, rich shade of blue – and to the plant that produces its colour. With the invention of cheap and colourfast synthetic dyes in the late 1800s, indigo blue became synonymous with denim and workwear.

Even though we consider both the sky and the sea to be blue, it is one of nature’s rarest colours. Blue was also the last of all colours to get its name and become a word that was integrated into our vocabularies. In ancient texts, from any continent and culture, the world is described as anything but blue. For a large part of human history, there was no access to blue pigments and no way to render the colour for dyes or paints. But ever since indigo was discovered, about five thousand years ago, its suggestive shades of blue have been highly valued – associated with power, magic and divinity – and the same is true for the plant that was used to produce them, the red-flowered Indigofera bush, native to both Asia and America in a variety of species.

The deep indigo colour cannot be extracted from the plant directly but is released first through fermentation of the leaves and then in an alkalic solution where textiles can be dyed, traditionally by hand in large vats. Dipping the fabric in the bath results in a golden green colour, which develops into a distinctive blue when the dye comes in contact with air. With oxidation, the microscopic dye particles are fixed on the fibres, returning them to their insoluble form. This means that once dyed, indigo fabrics can last for millennia. Indigo was the last of all major dyes to be produced synthetically, a few years before 1900. The new chemical invention eliminated the use of natural indigo from commercial dyeing. These new blues were pure and precise, without the slight impurities and variations of their natural counterpart. And being both cheaper and easier to use than black, they became the standard colour for work uniforms, from labourers’ overalls to police suits. Even though indigo is the base for all blue dyes, all blue clothing, it is especially associated with denim which became the workwear of American miners and farmers from the late 1800s onwards. The characteristic three-dimensional quality in a pair of heavily worn jeans is directly related to the properties of the indigo dye. Since the pigments do not penetrate the cotton fibres, but bond only on top of them, the different layers of blue are worn down gradually when the fabric is frayed.

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The grid is an essential element of our visual identity. It represents the notion of the archive and is used to organise and display information ranging from the names of plants to fabric weights and different types of materials used in our collections. These nine squares symbolise the separate parts that together form our world, and they are also the areas where we strive to make a difference.

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ARCHIVE

The notion of the archive is one of ARKET’s central themes and runs as a common thread through the brand. It represents the long-lasting nature of our collections, an extensive library of design history and vintage samples, our ideal of transparency, as well as the inspiration for and name given to our in-store shelving system. The digital ARKET / ARCHIVE captures research, inspiration, and past projects, and forms the collective story of who we are.

Knowledge

The pea coat

The pea coat is one of the oldest garments that is still worn in its traditional version. Made from coarse and heavy wool in navy blue, it has been used by sailors on the North Sea since the 1700s.

Design

JR–Work–Shop

This winter, we are invited to discover the playful world of Sofia Ekvall and Mats Johansson, the creative minds behind Stockholm-based design studio and toy brand JR-Work-Shop, whose geometric illustrations are featured in the latest ARKET Artist Edition.

Food

Vegetarian recipes

Featuring gourmet sandwiches, hearty salads and featuring gourmet sandwiches, hearty salads and flavoursome toppings, we’re introducing fresh recipes created by chef Martin Berg.

explore ARKET

Materials
Suppliers
Design
Food
People
Balance
Knowledge
Community
Environment

The grid is an essential element of our visual identity. It represents the notion of the archive and is used to organise and display information ranging from the names of plants to fabric weights and different types of materials used in our collections. These nine squares symbolise the separate parts that together form our world, and they are also the areas where we strive to make a difference.