Introducing Story mfg. R.T.S. (Turbulent Times Build Strong Roots)
by Saeed Al-Rubeyi·
Today we launch Story mfg. R.T.S., so I wanted to take a moment to explain what it is. In short, R.T.S. is a mini collection of items naturally dyed with fruits, roots, bark, leaves and microorganisms, that lets the dye do all the talking. It’s stripped back of almost everything but textured fabric and dye.
R.T.S. is the kind of quiet craft we love - the kind which is almost at odds with itself. It looks simple but is in fact extremely complicated. It looks effortless and easy, but is the result of extreme effort and skill.
Visually, a look built with Story mfg. R.T.S. fits the same ‘easy’ silhouette you can expect from story. These are items you can wear as a full look to a wedding, a party, the library, work, pub or pottering around the house. It’s become a uniform for me (Saeed) over the last few months - its effortless.
The Poetic Why
I remember reading about an experiment where trees were planted in an enclosed glass bio-dome in Arizona. Trees would flourish and grow, before eventually collapsing under their own weight.
They fell because the environment presented no challenges. They never felt the force of wind push and pull on them, so they didn’t build strong roots to anchor themselves to the earth. This story is poetic and powerful in its simplicity, so like all stories its been used as metaphor for any situation where there's an argument to be made that adversity builds character. I’m not usually one for these kinds of motivational snippets, but I do love science, and found this really interesting.
I can’t speak to every situation, but I can attest to this being true of us. We’ve had a turbulent time, both in good ways (growth, experimentation, innovation, research) and bad (pandemic, climate change). Natural dyeing has always been at the heart of our practice, and we’ve innovated (or re-discovered old ways) to make tones and colours. We use these in our collections, but there isn’t always space in stores for a single colour shirt so they don’t make it into collections and when they do, they’re largely ignored.
For us, a simple item naturally dyed is one of the most beautiful things we can do. The range of tones nature provides, even in one dye, is breathtaking. The way it adapts, wears, fades & develops is unique. Story mfg. R.T.S. is available exclusively on storymfg.com, and I hope to keep it a permanent collection as long as people like it.
The colours we’ve chosen for the first season are represented by the colour codes used at the natural dye-house. Some are a single colour, others are mixtures and potions. These would usually only appear on our technical documents, but since we were stripping things back visually it felt honest to do the same with the names.
CO-42 + CO-92: A toasty warm reddish-brown dyed with babul bark and madder root
CO-200: A dusty blue-purple, made using Natural Indigo and Padhimugam (sappan wood).
CO-23: A citrusy bright green-hued yellow dyed with myrobalan (cherry plum)
CO-80 + CO-64: A dark blue veiled black, dyed with a mix of fermented indigo, myrobalan and iron
CO-11: A warm olive-green dyed using myrobalan and iron
CO-00: Our staple undyed creamy ecru
CO-63: Pure indigo that washed and wears down to a jewel bright blue
CO-44: Rich and earthy brown dyed using Babul Bark