History of Hues: Indigo

Updated: May 31

History of Hues

Did you know that blue has been called America’s favorite color? We see it everywhere. Cars, Clothing, Houses, 1980s Eyeshadow ♥️. And it’s not just manufactured products the color blue evokes—it can quickly make us feel in touch with water, the sky, and nature in general.


But let's talk about a specific blue, Indigo. So rich a hue and what a history!

Also, an important color to the drape—look at our logo. We wanted to build a brand and look that was not only well designed but also rich with history.



The Beginning of Indigo

Until recently, historians assumed that 5,000 years ago indigo traveled from India to the Middle East to Africa. The color was present along these trade routes, so the assumption was that India first created the color and the rest of the world learned from there.


However, in 1990 at the British Museum, a team discovered a small clay piece from their collection that had text from Babylon 600 and 500 BC that describes dyeing wool blue! This new piece of information changed our perception of how indigo spread across the globe. It’s now believed that many cultures discovered the color independently through their own processes.



Indigo Plants

In order to make the color indigo, leaves from the plant by the same name are harvested and made into a dye. There are many species of indigo plants; however, the most coveted is Indigofera Tinctoria. Its colorant provides the deep saturated Indigo color we all know today. It is a pretty shrub with green leaves, pink blooms, and hanging seedpods. The plant is now most common in Central and South America.



Making Indigo Dye

Indigo is one of the most colorfast of all dyes, eventually making it a global phenomenon. The dye was popular in burial robes and was found in a variety of countries, including Mali, Peru, Indonesia, and Palestine. The color was also used by many historical figures. Clothing from King Tut has indigo threads woven through it. Napoleon used Indigo for the uniforms of his army—consuming 150 tons of dye per year!


In the 1850s, Levi Straus switched from tent canvas to Denim for his work pants. As denim gained in popularity for its durability, the color Indigo went from luxury to “blue-collar”.

The love affair with indigo, the gorgeous dark blue, has continued strong, and many of us wear it every day. This comfort with the color is why at the drape we added it to our curated assortment.


Then in 1895, German chemical company BASF launched man-made “pure indigo,” which turned out to be a game-changer. Prior to the manmade version, Indigo was a luxury color on par with Tyrolian Purple, due to how complex it was to make the dye powder.


The velvet comes in a rich shade of indigo. It is a soft and subtle fabric with a great hand. It’s a versatile color for all sorts of rooms and it looks great with many colors. The cotton canvas in indigo is a classic color and fabric choice. The color is reminiscent of a favorite pair of dark jeans and has the same ability to pair well with anything.


How do you know if this color is right for you? Take a look at what you are wearing. Is it those favorite pair of jeans with a comfy t-shirt or sweater? Recreate that feeling in your living room or your bedroom with one of these Indigo curtain options. And if you need help, just ask.


Want to learn more about the history of hues? Check back for more info on the colors that shape our designs.