Estonian Blues: Natural dyes as enhancers of environmental, intergenerational and heritage bonds in Fashion Design education

Julia Valle Noronha, Piret Puppart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article investigates cultural sustainability through the case of the Ethno course, offered to students in the fashion design programme at the Estonian Academy of Arts. It discusses ways to enhance bonds with the environment, heritage and traditional knowledge in fashion design. Via narratives of traditional crafts and situated learning in a textile archive, the course focuses on contemporary craft applications within the various practices that compose fashion, with particular attention to local natural dyes. In this work, we discuss the structure of the course in one of its recent iterations focusing on blue-coloured pigments, its outcomes and possible implications to the field of fashion design practice and education. The findings build on both the final presented outcomes as well as students’ feedback analysed via open coding. The resulting works raise interest in a holistic approach to design concepts, reconnecting the students with nature and strengthening bonds with previous generations. They suggest that through historical narratives and hands-on engagement with nature, students developed a heightened awareness of personal and local heritage, as well as the natural environment of Estonia. In conclusion, the work discusses how this offering adds to the course’s legacy and looks into future developments in articulation with its present applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalCraft Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bio-based dyes
  • crafts
  • cultural heritage
  • cultural sustainability
  • environmental awareness
  • fashion design
  • fashion education


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