The art of tie-dying has such a long and scattered history that it’s extremely difficult to pin down exactly where it originated. Which when you think about it fits right into the ethos of this forever trending fashion statement…
The earliest surviving pieces of tie-dye clothing ever found date back to a pre-Columbian era around 500 AD. That happens to be such a long time ago that no one knows the culture that created the pieces or how they used them. Going from all back then to more modern history, the first modern memories of a culture practicing tie-dye come from Japan during the 8thCentury. It was called Shibori and featured tie-dye designs on flat tapestry-like cuts of fabric. At the time they were used to as special gifts, usually given to royalty and they were draped along the shoulders of said royalty to show how royal they were. Civilians also began to create pieces by themselves for themselves, but they usually preferred to hang the fabric from walls like priceless selections at the Art Basel.
In Africa, the countless and now famous Indigo Pits were found in the Hausa region of West Africa. These pits were used to make traditional African tie-dye clothing. The African technique differed quite a bit from what comes out of Asia. Through carbon dating, these pits are estimated to be just as old as the evidence of tie-dye found in 8thCentury Japan. And herein lays the confusion about exactly where the art of tie-dye originated.
Fast forward all the way to the 1900s’ and that’s when the first instances of tie-dyed fabric made its way to the Western World. America was the first country in the West to see an explosion of this fashion trend that had been all over Asia & Africa for centuries. However, it didn’t take off right away… it wasn’t until the 1960s’ that tie-dye became popular in the States and it was all thanks to the hippies. The version they practiced and popularized was from Africa judging from the technique, designs and first instances of use.
In more current times tie-dyed clothing seems to be one of those things that never really goes out of style. Sure it may not always be the most poppin’ thang happening in fashion and culture a given time. But, nonetheless, it’s always there! It wasn’t until Beyoncé stepped out on vacation rocking tie-dye earlier this year that it made a resurgence. And for summer 19 the trend seems to be taking off hotter than ever as a result. We’re certainly not here to complain about but rather encourage it. We’re loving it and we’re telling you about it because we’re positive that you’ll be loving it too!