STAND Up!: Natural dyeing fabrics, a sustainable technique used in Tunisia by Ettantoura


The word ‘Ettantoura’ is the Tunisian translation of a strategic local sustainable development project whose goal is offering a natural dyeing service, raw materials and trainings. It strengthens and promotes craftsmanship and creation through workshops for natural dyeing on fabric, weaving and natural fibres. The project, founded by the entrepreneur Oman Chelbi, is one out of the 47 ideas in the textile and fashion industry selected by CITET in Tunisia.

Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Design and a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Development of Local and Artisanal Productions, Oman Chelbi heard about STAND Up! on social media through an active research of projects supporting eco-innovative ventures. “I would underline from the training sessions the importance of social media and connections to grow your project and to spread your products and services”, says Chelbi.

Ettantoura is one of the projects that followed the training sessions conducted by the Tunisian partner CITET. The project is an alternative supplier of raw and ecological materials, based on natural fibres dyed naturally. They also do research and design in a laboratory for artisanal innovation and peer-to-peer knowledge. But it’s true that sometimes the lack of raw materials and some local laws can be a constraint for the launching of the project.

Oman Chelbi is fully committed in avoiding the degradation of the Tunisian artisanal product and its 100% ecological character by the introduction of artificial and chemical materials in the production process. That is the reason why Ettantora contributes to strengthen raw material supply patterns and updates the register of Tunisian artisanal products which have become obsolete and not contemporary.

At the same time, Ettantoura fights against the practise of dangerous and polluting techniques of dyeing with chemical pigments that can be dangerous both for the environment and for our health. “We have given learning sessions for craftsman groups in sustainable design methodologies and natural dyeing workshops. The goal was spreading the awareness of using chemical dyes and the benefits of using natural extracts”, he says.

STAND Up! has supported all the projects selected in the framework of the EU and ENI CBC MED. In total, 3.6 million € are being mobilized to support entrepreneurs in the textile and fashion industry based in the 5 Mediterranean countries in the project.