A Brief History of Tie-Dye

Tie-dye is one of the most recognizable and beloved patterns in the world. For centuries, the fashion-forward crowd has coveted these bright, captivating products, and been fascinated by the intricate process which produces them. You still think tie-dye originated with American hippies in the 1960s? Think again. Here's the real story, complete with Orchid Alley products that hold true to the famous multicolor design.

4000 BC: Bandhani Debuts in India

Throughout India, tie-dye cloths were a valuable trading commodity. "Bandhani" is an Indian term for the tie-dye process. Women were known for growing the nails of their thumb and index finger as long as possible to grasp small bits of fabric that they could bind with cotton. This resulted in the pattern and that would eventually take the world by storm.

Tie-Dye Fringe Dress, $18

Go for a piece that represents the same festive spirit of the original pattern.

500 AD: Peru Gets Down With Dye

Before tie-dye took on its modern form, ancient Peruvians used the technique to add small bits of flair to the attire. Small circles and lines would be dyed bright colors to highlight specific attributes of clothing. Their tie-dye of Peru is some of the first in existence.

Tie-Dye Skirt, $15

Light, breezy materials kept ancient Peruvians cool. Same goes for you.

618 AD: T'ang Dynasty Loves The Tie-Dye

In China, clothing decorated with tie-dye was a privilege of the wealthy and priests. The colors used in garments indicated the level of social status of their wearer. Because of the prestige associated with the brightly colored fabrics, tie-dyed silks were used in tombs during the T'ang Dynasty to show respect for those buried inside.

Tie-Dye Sun Dress, $18

Show the world how tie-dye remains a symbol of status.

1909: Tie-Dye Comes to America

Tie-dye was first introduced to the States by Columbia University professor Charles E. Pellow in 1909. It didn't become a booming fad until the 1960s. Janis Joplin and John Sebastian were two rock stars known for wearing - and dying their own - colorful fabrics.

Popularity skyrocketed after two New York City artists created hundreds of tie-dyed T-shirts to give away at a music festival in Woodstock, New York. What followed was the cultural phenomenon of Woodstock, and the mainstreaming of tie-dye as a national trend.

Tie-Dye Tee, $15

The classic T-shirt made tie-dye globally renown, and it's still a great look today.



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