Today, an idea needn’t be novel to be popular. It just has to be repackaged right. And let me be the first to admit that I love repackaging; everyone does. The logic of this, especially in fashion, is that everything comes back, albeit in a new avatar. And somehow, if something returns after having been adopted and repackaged by top designer labels, we accept it ever more readily so. The most recent rebound, is the tie & dye. For a technique that sprung up as a unique form of expression in so many civilisations independent of external influences, it had almost been dead for a long time. People just went off it, confining its definition to a mere rudimentary art form relegated to college students attempting fashion on a shoestring budget, or hippies who never outgrew the ’70s. But since last year, tie & dye has become the fashion trend, pun intended, to die for. Ever since the big brands picked it up, there has been no dearth of tie-dye products from top names, with eye-popping multi-digit price tags. Here’s a small selection, by way of example.
- Nike Air Force 1 Black Tie-Dye: Launched a few weeks ago, this was a quirky AF1, with quite the stand-out aesthetic on a silhouette that rarely ventures beyond basic colour-blocked patterns. Nike also launched workout gear with the tie-dye effect around the same time.
- Prada: Their SS19 drew heavily on the retro T&D visuals and yet, it seemed fairly updated in terms of the structure, and definitely more hipster than hippie.
- Crocs Tie-Dye: From clogs to slides, Crocs did a good few versions, with splashes of colours on a grey background. Definitely eye-catching.
- Levi’s 501 ’93 Straight Fit Shorts: I was surprised to find them on the Indian website (good job, guys), but — pardon this pun — it would take a real man to pull these off.
- Palm Angels: How can we talk of anything contemporary and hip, and not have street culture be a part of it? They ran some very slick monochrome versions.
Now that I have your attention, how may one incorporate the trend into their wardrobe in a manner that is creative and subtle? The first tip: go easy. Layer it gradually. If there is anything as too much, then T&D is an easy one to overdo. Use it as an accent instead of as the vocabulary of your style. Maybe a scarf or socks to begin with, perhaps a tie or a pocket square (if you are still getting a chance to use those). An anti-fit T&D tee paired with jeans could work well, or perhaps a T&D jacket to go over a pastel colour-blocked set. And always remember that the rest of it must match in tone, but the T&D piece can safely stand out in both brightness, and colour intensity. Remember, you are wearing a mighty piece of garment, and flamboyance is a must to carry it off. Doubt yourself for a second there, and you will lose the crowd forever. As for trying it out at home, I am not entirely opposed to it. If times have made us desperate enough to walk around our house whipping coffee for a good part of an hour, there is certainly more to be gained from a DIY tie & dye effort.