THINK tie-dye, think groovy magic buses and blasting open the doors of perception, right? Wrong. An updated, directional take on tie-dye is set to be the biggest trend of the summer, with everyone from Calvin Klein to Stella McCartney serving up psychedelic vibes at spring-summer shows.
For certain dye-hard (get it?) fans, the style never went away. Teamed with baggy jeans, it was huge in the 1990s and tie-dye’s resurgence is part of a long-running revival of the decade.
This year the trend has gone high-end, with tailored shapes in luxe materials. The look is more boardroom boss with a pinch of edge, pairing tie-dye T-shirts with a sharp blazer.
Gwyneth Paltrow has been out and about in a formal tie-dye dress, while Prada has created a tie-dyed duchesse-silk skirt — for a non-hippie £1,345 (net-a-porter.com).
For the rest of us, the high street is awash with tie-dye goodies but to truly get into the spirit of the trend, it’s worth making your own. In fact, it’s almost one of DIY fashion’s rites of passage. It’s also cheaper than buying new and, because you’re transforming something you already own, it’s more ethical. Just make sure the dyes have non-toxic, green credentials.
How easy is it? Using the Tulip One Step Ultimate Tie Dye Kit from Hobbycraft (£10, hobbycraft.co.uk), I let loose on an old white T-shirt.
I had visions of dipping dripping tops into buckets of dye but it’s super-easy — and fairly neat — to apply the dye directly from a bottle. The whole process is oddly therapeutic, too.
My colours start to bleed into each other and I realise I should have tied my elastic bands more tightly. By the time I wrap my top in clingfilm, leaving it to set for the rest of the day, I’m nervous about the results and convinced my slapdash efforts will have produced a sludgy pattern.
But when I see the finished top, washed and dried, I’m delighted. Perhaps the beauty of tie-dye is that it doesn’t require perfection, only a bit of imagination. I’m inspired.
Watch out, Stella McCartney, I’m on a roll!
Wind & bind: How to do modern Tie-dye
1. Take your chosen natural fibre garment, wet or dry. Fold, scrunch, roll or pleat it and bind it tightly at intervals with elastic bands. There are many variations that will produce different patterns, so browse for ideas online before you start.
2. Apply your dye directly to the fabric, trying not to let the colours bleed into each other — unless that’s the look you’re going for. Don’t forget to wear gloves and to protect your work surface.
3. Wrap your garment in clingfilm and leave for six to eight hours.
4. Remove the clingfilm, cut off the elastic bands and rinse off the excess dye before putting your garment on its own into a hot wash with laundry soap.
5. Leave it to dry and you’ll have a new piece of tie-dye.
Three of the best tie-dyes to buy
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