Tie-Dye: Fashion History and Lifestyle

Tie-Dye: Fashion History and Lifestyle

From hippie culture to the catwalk


Accompanying the neon revival of 2019, the comeback of tie-dye is one worth mentioning. The technique of tie-dying clothes never really departed from the fashion scene upon its introduction dating back to the ’60s, but this trend hasn’t been getting attention within the industry for the past decade. Recently at New York Fashion Week, contemporary houses like R13, Prabal Gurung, and Eckhaus Latta have successfully brought back the colorway through reinterpreting the tie-dye process. With the approval of celebrities like Beyonce in her tie-dye dress or Justin Bieber and his hoodie, there is no doubt that this trend is going through its own renaissance.

From left to right: Eckhaus Latta and R13’s Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear Collection
Image taken from Vogue.com

Tie-dye was born during the ’60s, rising to peak popularity during the ’70s. A product of American hippies and Vietnam War protesters, the clashing colorways of tie-dye were seen through art and apparel, asserting themselves as symbols of anti-establishment during that era. What makes tie-dye so special is the process in and of itself, which results in the product of the dye achieving bold, striking color patterns that seem to blend effortlessly. Tie-dye, as the name suggests, is short for “tied-and-dyed” that describes the process itself. It appears most often on t-shirts, ranging from basic patterns like spirals, diamonds, peace signs, and marble to more complicated ones that incorporate random artworks and intricate designs. During New York Fashion Week, this hippie-inspired aesthetic was seen through various reimaginations such as reworked denim, mini and A-line skirts, or even in combination with high-quality materials like duchess satin. Just like that, a technique with DIY origins representing political nonconformity within a small subculture has now become a well-known movement for the fashion industry.

Vendors selling tie-dye merch at Woodstock, 1969.
Image taken from Pinterest

Compared to what put tie-dye on the map before, products of tie-dye from modern-day designers are more about fashionable aesthetic rather than making a political statement. Over time, the expressions of tie-dye got revamped through new approaches to the process like bold graphics, creative color blending, among a multitude of others—all for the purpose of realigning tie-dye with different brands’ aesthetic.

At There VND Then, tie-dye appears in a host of styles, ranging from basic t-shirts to button-ups, hoodies, shorts, bucket hats, and even socks. Various brands like Jungles Jungles, Mauna Kea, Stussy, and OAMC have their own take on tie-dye, including traditional spiral patterns as well as more complex blending methods. There are still basic tie-dye colorways that include vivid, intense colors but newer variations on the trend can be seen through cooler and darker color choices to create unique fashion items.

So how can one effectively pull off tie-dye? In the ’60s and ’70s, tie-dye tops were combined with simple denim pants—a simple and wonderful combination that is still fashionable until this day. The only advice: wear tie-dye in your own style, such that it is fitting to your aesthetic. After all, tie-dye’s history came from personal tastes and preferences aimed to make a statement.

Want to have your personal symbol? Click here to shop the featured tie-dye look at There VND Then website.