As we recover from the thrill of Essence Fest over the weekend, we’ve had time to think back on all the incredible experiences, activations, and performances. As a result, it’s safe to say that the New Orleans event is the place to be to start the summer.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention fashion as we look back on the wonderful times, delicious meals, and amazing people. One of the trends our fashion forecasters spotted was the cheerful and festive tie-dye.
Allow us to fill you in on the colorful craze, which has roots in China in the fifth century A.D. The tie-dye technique is also rooted in West Africa in the Hausa region, with renowned indigo dye pits located in and around Kano, Nigeria. The garments that have been tie-dyed are then lavishly embroidered in traditional designs. Some believe that the tie-dyed clothing associated with hippie dress was inspired by these African traditions.
“The popularity of tie-dye began with the Company RIT knocking on the doors of artists, and soon the DIY project became the emblem of the next decade. Mostly worn by people known as Hippies,” says luxury lifestyle publicist Alison Mamana.
“Tie Dye has remained the uniform of Hippie culture,” she continues. “The bold colors represent love and peace, however, it is also a way of displaying a sense of relaxing and chill, which is why we say the reemergence of tie-dye during the pandemic.”
Although this vintage look has a long history, it really rose to prominence in the late 1960s when peacemakers wore it to symbolize harmony in the midst of chaos. Although fashion has occasionally returned, it should come as no surprise that, with everything going on in our society right now, the colorful trend will be seen this summer to offer a little peace and love to our closets.
Tie-dye has been seen on a number of celebrities, including Rihanna, Lizzo, and Cardi B., and we know why.
“Tie-dye is so fly because, from a cultural perspective, it represents a few things,” says Fashion Connector AK Brown. “It represents the freedom to express one’s creativity and to be free.” She adds, “specifically from a product developer standpoint, it enhances streetwear because you can create tie-dye with different methods to elevate and really promote luxury streetwear.”
So how does one style the look so that it looks fashionable and not gimmicky?
“The tie dye speaks for itself!” Mamana tells us. “You can easily match a tie-dye top with anything like jeans. If the tie-dye is a sweat suit, match it with any color tank or tee. For dresses, just throw on some neutral sandals or a pair of heels in one of the outstanding colors in the dress. Tie-dye does all the heavy lifting, so it’s best to keep the rest of the outfit understated and match a color in the tie-dye pattern.”
Be aware that tie-dying doesn’t have to be in rainbow hues; dark and neutral shades can significantly spice up the look as well. Furthermore, tie-dye isn’t just for t-shirts. Tie-dye can also be found on socks, jewelry, shoes, and other items.
Tie-dye is an extremely versatile technique. Depending on how you’re feeling, you can be modest or extravagant.
Ahead, see a few tie-dye items we believe would be a great asset to your wardrobe this summer.