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Item of the week: the tie dye top

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: Jordan, Desigual, Scotch & Soda

What it is:

The term ‘tie dye’ refers to a range of dying techniques that can be incorporated into a garment to achieve a dynamic dyed finish. The process could involve folding, twisting and crumpling a fabric, before tying it up with string and applying dye. The look was prominent in the 70s as a style that was typically adopted by members of the hippie movement and rebellious youth, each looking to take a stand against various societal matters of the time. Since then, tie dye has made its way into mainstream fashion, adopted by fast fashion and high-end brands alike as a wardrobe print staple.
Image: Ted Baker

Why you’ll want it:

Tie dye’s current comeback could be attributed to the rise in DIY culture and homemade crafting, an offset of pandemic restrictions that saw people adapt to the situation by hand making their own products. Designers’ and brands’ response to this has seen the tie dye technique become slightly more elevated, albeit still with a handmade effect that can tie closely to the casual style shoppers are looking for. While often used by sportswear brands to liven up various garments in the sector, the method has also been incorporated into daily garments and premium designs, giving it more scope to attract a wider audience.
Image: Madewell

Where we’ve seen it:

A particularly popular tie dye effect that made its rounds on SS23 runways was that of ombre dying, which refers to the blending of one hue to another. This was used among brands like Peter Do and Ferragamo, both of which incorporated distinctly contrasting colourings into their designs. Diesel also used the technique in everything from oversized jeans and tank tops to mini dresses. Meanwhile, Etudes and Bluemarble utilised tie dye in more bold forms, with patchy prints that brought together a wider array of tones. Marcelo Burlon was among the designers that displayed a more classic side of tye dye, notably for a longline cape that donned a fossil-shaped print.
Image: United Legwear

How to style it:

Tie dye items provide a lot of possibilities for experimentation, with different colourings and hues that allow for the potential to explore various paired garments. This means shoppers can take a particular colour from the print and match it to an item of a similar shade in order to simply and effectively complete an outfit. To further simplify a look, tie dye products can work well alongside denim pieces and items in standard block colours, like black or white. These options provide a simple daytime look for the casual wearer. Elevate the style using materials like leather to bring a bit of edge to the design.
Image: Mama.licious
The tie dye look is a one that has returned to the forefront of fashion in an elevated way, with techniques such as ombre making this typically handmade aesthetic feel more high end. Once popular among sportswear, its presence on SS23 runways has seen it expand into evening attire as a print of choice for the upcoming seasons.
Image: 11 Degrees

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Item of the Week