When brand's say their logo's are printed using "Water-Based dye" what does that actually mean? Well, look no further because we are about to blow the presence of any ambiguity right out the water.
For starters, water-based ink typically has what's known as a "softer hand". In lay man's terms, that means the print on the garment is soft and light; as opposed to rough and heavy. This is actually something that numerous buyers of our eco-friendly tees and sustainable sweatshirts have commented on.
The reason why water-based ink has a softer hand than say plastisol ink is rather straightforward. Unsurprisingly, plastisol is plastic based and when it is heated it becomes a solid. It sits on top of the fabric of the garment. Conversely, water based ink absorbs into the fabric rather than sitting on top.
Moving on now to breathability and durability. The good news is water based inks get an A1 grading when it comes to both. Like we already mentioned, water-based inks absorb into the fabric of the sustainable garment and this allows many of the openings between the fibres to remain open which isn't the case when it comes to plastisol inks and the dreaded "sweat patches". With regards durability, not wanting to sound like a stuck record, but such is the bond formed between the graphic and the fabric, hypothetically the print should last as long as the garment.
Next, water-based dye is by and large more eco-friendly but it is also important to note that they do contain plastic in the form of acrylics and other binders. Whilst they are PVC free, they do rely on solvents that evaporate. Yes, the primary solvent is water but co-solvents often include formaldehyde and alcohol.
To finish, we are proud that our garments are screen printed using water-based dye but we do appreciate it isn't a 100% eco-friendly method and that is why we felt it necessary to include its shortcomings along with its many positives.
If there are any particular topics relating to sustainability in the fashion industry that you would like us to feature in our "What Is" series, please comment them below.