Persimmon dye from ancient Korea finds new foothold in modern world

Galot, fabric died with the juice of unripe persimmons, likely originated in Korea in the 15th century and became the mainstay clothing of farmers and fisherman. Largely lost to the centuries, a fashion designer is reviving the art on the resort island of Jeju.

Persimmon juice adds both color and strength to fabric. In addition to its strength, it blocks sun and repels insects, making galot and ideal fabric for warm climates. Very few people still practice the traditional dying method, which has historically been a women's craft.

Fashion designer Yang Soon-ja, a native of Jeju Island, is changing that. She has introduced a fashion line that uses galot and has won awards for her work. She is also teaching the craft in Jeju. She sees it as a way for women there to gain life skills and financial independence. Her students include people in jail and immigrants from other countries.