World 192

In World 192, coal-gas production and petroleum chemicals that are used to create the artificial dyeing process were not discovered. The chemist William Henry Perkin eventually discovered an effective treatment for malaria but never discovered synthetic dyes. The use of natural dyes continues to be the dominant process for colouring textiles and clothing.

During the 1750s when the industrial revolution came about, the occurrence of the Qing dynasty also emerged in China, where royalty and aristocracy were the only ones who could easily access and be dressed in clothing with the colour red. Because of the complexity of creating synthetic dyes to create the colour red, this made the colour more desirable, valuable and important for the Chinese as the colour ultimately symbolises luck, joy and prosperity. This created more desire and stressed the importance of how the colour red is in garments.

What if …

synthetic dyes were never discovered?

Issue targeted:

the disconnectedness we feel from our cultural heritage as a result of globalisation, including the significance of different colours used in textiles


Chinese heritage, the colour red and its significance to the Chinese culture

This World was contributed by Ni Si Ting, Lee Ericia, Eldeen Ng and Hannah Bianca Velasco Chiu (located in Singapore and the Philippines) using a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licence which allows others to share and adapt the work in any medium and for any purpose, providing that they credit the author and share their material using the same Creative Commons licence.

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Published by Amy Twigger Holroyd

explorer of Fashion Fictions