Maria Elena Pombo wasn't always color obsessed. When the Parsons fashion graduate landed a job with Michael Kors after school, she preferred working with crisp white fabrics. She almost didn't believe her boyfriend Griffin Moore—also a designer—when he told her that avocado pits could dye cotton a deep, vibrant crimson, and onion skins covered silk in rich yellow and purple hues. It wasn't until a color hunt through the aisles of a Wegmans grocery store in Upstate New York that her passion was born.
"We just tried with the onion skins first. We placed some fabric in them and it was only a matter of hours before they were so vibrant," she recounts out of her studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, huddled over a bucket containing her latest creation. Years after that initial experiment, Pombo is the founder of her own natural dye company, Fragmentario.