À La Moda is a style column that updates you on what’s trending in fashion and street style while highlighting the brands that are designing it best.
Lately, many have assigned sweatpants and/or a nice top as the in-the-moment style option. This begs the question: does self-expression through clothing still matter in the coronavirus age? And what are the current trends that we’re seeing while being socially distanced? Fulfilling the prophecies of the fashion industry, style is still a fundamental aspect of who we are.
With origins that predate 4,000 BC in India, Japan, and Peru, tie-dye was popularized in the west as a symbol of the ‘60s hippie era, later adopted into skate culture and more.
Now, the resist-dyeing, do it yourself (DIY) technique has become a summer fashion statement. It even made its way into politics on Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s 2020 official merchandise design by Joe Perez, who’s best known for creative directing Kanye’s tour merch.
Popular style trends usually recycle with a modern take every couple of decades, and it’s likely we can credit tie-dye’s comeback to our COVID-19-induced lockdown which temporarily shut down retail stores and prompted those at home to get creative with old garments. Others tribute the reemergence as an expression of rejecting capitalism, materialism, and uniformity in our current political and social justice climate that parallels movements of the ‘60s.
Designers have implemented various iterations of this style trend into their collections, too. Check out some favorites below:
Ashlee Valle, the Puerto Rican designer behind this NYC-based, surrealist brand, fuses a free flow tie-dyeing process on cutting edge ready-to-wear garments designed with ruched and pleated silhouettes, as seen in her latest collection titled “WETSS20.”
With dresses modeled on the likes of Brazilian CGI influencer Lil Miquela, Valle’s collection seeks to emulate water as it relates to life in the sea.
In respect to her dyeing process, Valle tell us, “I don’t have a technique that I’m strongly tied to, but I often use Shibori, folding, and scrunching techniques. I rarely go down a neutral palette route, my color taste is LOUD. I’m super fluid about the process!”
Online Ceramics is an LA-based streetwear company created by designers Alix Ross and Elijah Funk. Their hand-dyed t-shirts and hoodies are most reminiscent of the psychedelic ‘60s era in praise of The Grateful Dead. The graphic designs on their apparel often depict iconography of acid and stoner culture, which Ross regards as his muse for creating his pieces.
Online Ceramics’ tie-dye colorway paired with motifs of goblins, skeletons and jesters is a go-to for a more classic vintage tie-dye aesthetic.
The Elder Statesmen
Labeled as a laidback luxury clothing fashion and lifestyle brand, The Elder Statesmen was founded by Greg Chait in 2007. Chait was a recipient of the $300,000 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award in 2012.
The LA-based brand delivers bright, cozy wear with a modern take on tie-dye. They emphasize quality craftsmanship to provide hand-dyed garments that are carefully curated onto hand-loomed cashmere.
In their Fall 2020 dyed collection, you can find their knitwear sweaters, pants, skirts and shirts incorporating tie-dyeing techniques such as the classic spiral, Shibori, crumpled, and striped for a wide range of dyed options.
Designer Liz Reynolds explores the interconnection between humans and nature by promoting eco-friendly plant-dyed accessories. Her eco-friendly brand, Sustainable Sunday, came after she created custom dyed pieces for Nike and Adidas, which she realized wasted a ton of water and used dangerous chemicals in their dye process.
She forages in her backyard, using leaves and flowers, and dyes extracted from avocados in her kitchen, to produce natural pigments.
“There’s this habit of buying new streetwear and throwing away items like Air Force 1s and white tees when they get stained or dirty,” Reynolds tells us. “We can actually revamp used sneakers and t-shirts with plant-based dyes. Now you can wear them 20 more times.”
“Tie-dye evokes the hippie era of self-sufficiency and wellness practice,” Reynolds says. “Also repurposing clothing that may not be perfect is a plus for changing the industry in creating timeless sustainable pieces.”
XKape Clothing is an up-cycling streetwear brand that uses thrift and vintage clothing to make one of a kind pieces billed as a way to “xkape the norm.”
Their collection, designed by Adam Karpman, consists of all things tie-dye on everything from hoodies and cut and sew flannels to tote bags and Nike socks.
Most often their garments include reworked sportswear and cartoon characters on an imperfectly dyed cloth that embodies a cool and organic DIY styled look.
This Spanish luxury fashion house has been around since 1846 and is one of the oldest ones around. Still, they’ve stayed current with up to date trends. Their SS20 collection brought forth a collaboration with Paula’s Ibiza to create Balearic island-inspired duo mix shirts of tie-dye and prints.
In a letter that accompanied the 2020 Spring/Summer drop, Loewe’s creative director Jonathan Anderson wrote, “I know this is not exactly an ideal time to launch products, but this is a project all the craftspeople at Loewe have been lovingly working on for some time… This is a happy, undeniably escapist collection, conveyed through colorful and energetic images and I thought it might cheer you up. As a visual feast, probably, or an aide-mémoire of better times to come.”
Profits from this collection will fund educational programs, the protection of children’s rights and a donation of 100,000 surgical masks to the Spanish Red Cross. Catch their range of tie-dye bucket hats pants, button-ups, dresses and more on Loewe X Paula’s Ibiza.