H.E.R.B.S project: natural healthy textiles

We are excited to introduce to you our collaboration with Dutch designer Nienke Hoogvliet. With her projects Nienke raises awareness about social and environmental problems in the textile industry, which is the second most polluting industry in the world (after oil). By creating innovative alternatives she hopes to change perspectives and systems.

H.E.R.B.S. (healthy environment, remedy for body and skin)
The human skin absorbs toxines, with damaging effects. What if the skin could also absorb positive healing effects? In ‘H.E.R.B.S’ Nienke used By Mölle linens to research the impact of natural textiles and medicinal herbs on your health. 

Nienke can you tell us more about H.E.R.B.S.?
"Greenpeace researched how many garments still contain too many chemicals. The result is shocking: 63% of the 141 tested garments contained high concentrations of endocrine-disrupting or cancer-causing substances. The skin is our largest organ and has the ability to absorb substances. I was wondering if we could turn this into something positive: can natural textiles contributes to our health? What harmful chemicals are used now, how does this possibly affect us and can herbal dyes offer the opposite, a beneficial effect?"

"At the beginning of this year, I started the H.E.R.B.S. project. Herbs are known for their medicinal effects and are used in many ways to contribute to our health: by eating them, using them for medication, and using them in cosmetics. Would they still have this effect when they are used as a textile dye?"

"For the research I used the natural linen of By Molle. The natural fabric doesn’t need pesticides to grow, doesn’t need irrigation and is grown and manufactured in Europe. I made a quilt to sleep under. By hand I embroidered a pattern with herbal dyed yarn with Rosemary, Sage and Chamomile. The herbal dyed samples were examined in the laboratory of Centexbel, a textile research centre in Ghent. This showed that the textile still contains all kinds of essential oils, which can be positive for our health."

"Thanks to crowdfunding the continuation of the H.E.R.B.S. project. I hope my work will help to raise awareness of the fact that the textile industry is not only harmful to the environment, but also to ourselves. The more people are aware of this, the more power we have to get the industry moving!" 

Dutch Design Week Eindhoven
Nienke Hoogvliet is exhibiting her work at Dutch Design Week from 19-27 October in Eindhoven (NL), so if you are planning to go there, make sure you pop in and say hello to her! 


The work of Nienke Hoogvliet is exhibited worldwide in institutions like Artipelag, Stockholm | Centre Pompidou, Parijs | Centraal Museum, Utrecht | Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, New York | Textielmuseum, Tilburg | Victoria & Albert Museum, London.