THE ALCHEMY OF DYEING (2020-2023) is a research platform conceived by fashion designer Mehru Khan and artist Nahla Tabbaa that dives into the alchemy of colour making, urban foraging, textile dyeing, chromophobia, taste making and other complexities around organic dyeing.
COMBINING methods of the Old World and adapting it to the site specific context of today’s fast-paced urban world, the workshops and research conducted encourage the idea of working at a slower pace, connecting with materials, nature and colour.
Nahla is an artist, pedagogue and culinary researcher. Interested in urban research, materiality, and alchemy, she works within these realms to create social impact.
Her interest in co-founding The Alchemy of Dyeing stems from her commissioned body of research supported by Campus Art Dubai and the Art Jameel Research and Practice Fund. The work explores the ways Dubai could be mapped through colour making, capsuling fleeting moments and bridging the old world sacred practice of alchemy and depositing it in a fast paced, urban lifestyle.
Mehru is a fashion and textile designer.
She started developing her own practice after working in the family fashion business for 4 years. In 2019, she launched her namesake slow fashion label, MĒRU. Melding past, present and future, the collections reimagine her South Asian heritage, the concepts of femininity, androgyny and function. In 2022, the LAZIM line of modular, functional, essential workwear was introduced to the label.
The source and soul of fabrics has always been an obsession. During lockdown, she got a chance to explore surface design, with resist dye and painting techniques and started creating her own unique textiles. A quarantined conversation with Nahla led to a serendipitous realization of the overlapping of their separate practices, and The Alchemy of Dyeing was conceived.
Square Scarf. 100% Silk.
Dyed with Rust, Charcoal, Madder, Indigo, Safflower