The word tie-dye became almost synonymous with the hippie movement that took place in America, certain parts of Canada & Europe in the 1960s- 1970s. But the art of tie-dye goes way back. It is a technique which has been practiced in places such as China, Japan, India, and Africa as early as the 6th century.
In India, the most common example of this technique is Bandhni, which exists to this day. It consists of small knots tied all over the fabric with thread, the fabric is then dyed. The knotted part remains undyed which creates beautiful white dots all over the fabric. Bandhni fabric can be sourced in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu.
In the US, its popularity can be accredited to the enterprise called Rit-Dye. The company had trouble staying in business, hence on the suggestion of the marketer Don Price, the owners went door-to-door to request various artists to use Rit-Dyes in their creations. They struck gold when they met two artists Will & Eileen Richardson who create a few die-tye garments using the companies’ dye. Don then took these designs to the designer Halston, who included it in his collections, and before we knew it ‘IT’ stars such as Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia were sporting Halston’s design. The youth in the 1960s caught on to this trend fairly quick as a way to express one’s individuality
Since creating tie-dye designs were so easy, many youngsters started trying their hand at it and begin selling them at local markets and music festivals. Tie-dye was also worn by hippie groups to show solidarity and rebel against the societal norms of the 1950s.
Cut to 2019, for a last couple of years the trend has made a comeback on the runway thanks to designer labels such as Roberto Cavalli, Proenza Schouler, John Elliott, R-13, Collina Strada, Prabal Gurung, and Eckhaus Latta.
Here’s where you can buy them:
Venice Beach Tie-Dye Knot T-Shirt
SSENSE Exclusive Blue Tie-Dye T-shirt
Zara Tie-Dye Sweatshirt
Crooked Tongues – Faded Oversized T-shirt With Tie Dye Logo
Roadster Women Olive Green Dyed Top
Marks & Spencer Women Blue Dyed Bardot Top