For Indians, the traditional tie and dye art originated centuries ago in the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The artisans from these areas mastered the art of mixing multiple bold colours on sarees, lehengas, skirts, tops, angrakhas to create iconic patterns, which later evolved as the signature crafts of India which we know as bandhani and leheriya. Interestingly, the global awakening for tie and dye prints happened much later in the late 60s and early 70s, when flamboyant psychedelic hippie trends were quite in vogue.
Circa 2019, celebrities and fashion lovers are reviving the power of these magnificent prints by sporting them on activewear, crop tops, and dresses that are perfect for sweaty summers. Speaking about the revival of tie and die, designer Arpita Mehta points out that historically, it has a very strong flower power connotation to it. Tie-dye symbolises a reflection of freedom and hope. The entire process of tie-dye creates unexpected results and its outcome is always uncertain yet beautiful.
Arpita says, “The trend has come back recently, and this season is all about incorporating tie-dye in bold, stylish and vibrant ways. There’s been a huge demand for this that we saw both on and off the runway. Tie-dye oversized T-shirts and dresses are a great way to introduce this hot trend in one’s wardrobe. This technique is also now being applied to denim in a very cool and unique way. Incorporating tie-dye in more feminine silhouettes is also a great option – think mini dresses and A-line skirts. The new tie-dye method sees unlikely colour combinations, usage of richer fabrics in newer silhouettes making this trend very fashion forward.”
Using organic dyes instead of synthetic and chemical dyes for getting tie and dye prints can be the best sustainable option for designers. Organic dyes are renewable; therefore they can be created without damaging the environment. Also, an organic dye can make sure to give the exact same look of the colour that we would want to achieve for a particular fabric, highlights designer Swapna Anumolu, founder of a fashion label. Swapna says, “Tie and dye is a very ancient process that usually consists of a lot of pleating, twisting and crumpling the fabric. Even today, tie and dye are being used in the form of pleated skirts, jackets, sarees, straight pants and palazzo pants. A tie and dye jacket can be paired with a plain bustier and a draped skirt, while tie and dye pants can be paired with a white shirt or any solid coloured T-shirt. For Indian wear, a plain saree can be paired with tie and dye blouse or vice-versa.”
Bright colours like yellow, orange, pink, red, blues and green look absolutely fun and refreshing in tie and dye techniques. In terms of fabric, options like georgette, chiffons, dupion are the best to work with and can be used in multiple ways. Designer Adarsh Makharia of fashion brand, shares his two cents on styling it for this season and says, “Neutral colours work best with tie and dye when paired with just a touch of an accent colour. Easy breezy silhouettes, anti fits in cotton are perfect for casual summer dressing. When deciding to wear this style for any occasion, fabrics like Italian taffeta, Italian paper silk, organza, and chiffon are preferred to give a rich and elegant feel. Pair a simple tie and dye skirt with a heavily embellished top to achieve the perfect balance for summers.”