Different people have different perceptions about tie dye. For many, it evokes pictures of long-haired hippies and their alternative lifestyle.
Did you know that tie dye has been use in fashion throughout the ages?
It is a national artform in Japan. Do a Google search for the term "shibori" and see how many pages come up with information about hand dyed fabrics. The Japanese people have used hand dyed techniques to embellish their kimonos for centuries and you can find their hand dyed textiles in their national museums and galleries.
In India the knowledge is passed down from father to son and mother to daughter and India is steeped in a culture of hand embellished textiles. Indian women will sit for hours and stitch individual grains of rice into their saris, which they then hand over to the dye technicians to colour with dye. Afterwards, they sit and carefully unpick every stitch to reveal the delicate pattern underneath.
Countries like Kenya and Ghana produce signature textiles that reflect their vibrant culture and tell the stories of their people.
Local designers like Stoned Cherrie and Sun Goddess have made extensive use of hand dyed finishes to differentiate their clothes with an authentic African feel and charm. Tie dye allows a designer to create garments in season colours, on-demand.
In Europe, top designers like Prada and Versace are doing the same. Go to http://www.ohlalamag.com/en/2010/01/versace-spring-summer-2010-round-3.html to see how Versace has used tie dye to create the most stunning silk shirts for men in 2010.
How you view tie dye is a matter of your individual perspective and framework. What is clear is that it is versatile and timeless. It has been used for as long as people have been making cloth and it will continue to add value to the clothing industry for as long as people crave to express their individuality through their clothes.