It’s time to update your wardrobes — tie-dye is back. The ‘90s served as a time when tie-dye was a major style staple but the trend slowly faded away until recently when Denver and national designers revitalized this intricate, bold and refreshing print.
Denver designers Steve Sells, Dakota Stevens and Anthony Heimann all incorporated tie-dye into their most recent collections, and with perfect timing. Vogue also recently declared tie-dye a “men’s spring trend for 2019.” Here, we go behind the scenes for an exclusive look with those Denver designers to discuss the art of tie-dye and what it means for 2019 style.
Steve Sells Studio
Sells, an established and polished Denver designer, is no stranger to tie-dye. For over twenty years, the designer has utilized this pattern into his collections. Dresses, blouses and jackets all perfectly embody his connection to tie-dye. He also debuted his tie-dye designs at the prestigious and celebrated New York Fashion Week on February 22.
303 Magazine: Please tell us about your creation of tie-dye.
Steve Sells: Beginning with a tie-dye t-shirt line I started in my 20s and it progressed to working with Shibori dying — a much more labor-intensive Japanese variety of tie-dye. My silk clothing line in the ’90s relied heavily on multiple applications of Shibori/tie-dye. Layering color on color, pattern on pattern, texture on texture as part of the Art-to-Wear movement.
303: How do you incorporate tie-dye into your designs?
SS: My current collections still utilize Shibori/tie-dye, but in a much more restrained fashion. My casual wear collection combines textural Japanese fabrics, with contemporary shapes, and Zen-like minimalist use of Shibori/tie-dye to accentuate the garment. And my current eveningwear pieces utilize singular bold swaths of Shibori/tie-dye that flutter across the silk yardage.
Stevens, an explorative and cutting-edge designer, allowed 303 an exclusive look into his personal tie-dye process and discussed how he sees tie-dye refreshing closets this year.
303 Magazine: How do you see tie-dye persevering in 2019 and why do you think it is experiencing a comeback?
Dakota Stevens: I think we’re gonna see tie-dye become a lot more mainstream. People are going to plan out their color selection more and leave less to chance when developing their process. People are creating specific looks with an emphasis on perfecting dye technique and with the use of digital technology to get specific results which weren’t readily available in the ’90s.
303: How do you think the fashion obsessed of Denver will react to the reincarnation of tie-dye?
DS: I think Denver is going to be on the forefront of tie-dye because of its hippy roots and bohemian lifestyle. The people of Denver are known for their love [of] natural colors and neutral color palates but I foresee their adventurous spirits shining through with the incorporation of bold color. With such a huge number of transplants, we’re going to especially see them gravitate towards tie-dye by them, as it reflects Colorado’s hippy boho lifestyle and the rise of marijuana culture.
303: Please walk us through your tie-dye design process and explain if that process differs between numerous tie-dye designs.
DS: My process is currently very traditional dye process. My initial interest in dying started with dying the wool beforehand for interesting knits. I’m looking forward to incorporating digital printing technology to get exactly what I want every time.
Nicholas Anthony Clothing
Anthony Heimann, mastermind of Nicholas Anthony Clothing, celebrates the continuance of modern fashion. This Denver Fashion Week alum — Heimann created many grand looks over the years — seems to hold the art of tie-dye close.
303: Fashion often serves as a creative outlet that promotes self-expression. What does tie-dye say to you?
Anthony Heimann: Dying clothing is a unique process that allows me, as a designer, to create uniquely unexpected and colorful garments. With much of the design process planned and expected, the dying processes offers an opportunity to produce a look which cannot be foretold until it has dried completely. Unexpected colors arise much of the time through the use of unconventional fabrics lending to the whimsy of Nicholas Anthony Clothing.
303: What colors (if any) look best when paired together for tie-dye designs?
AH: While dying and mixing colors to produce radiant spectrums of colors is the ideal end result, a bit of research and practice is always necessary to ensure a successful final result. Utilizing an analogous color theme — colors next to each other on the color wheel — and dying order is an excellent way to ensure vivid ranges of color that are visually balanced. Think yellow, lime green and turquoise or fuschia, purple and navy. Colors of the same family but of different saturations — lime green and hunter green — lend to a wonderful ombré effect from light to dark. Keeping dyes separate and blending in the order of the rainbow will ensure your the project does not turn into an undesirable brown mess. In which case, it was meant to be, so go with it.
303: Why do you think tie-dye designs in the fashion world were absent for so long?
AH: Tie-dye fashion is the ultimate in self-expression. Colorful, loud and free. Such designs seem to have been less popular in previous seasons due to a societal need to blend in rather than stick out. With such a heated political environment and growing desire for unrivaled individuality, tie-dye designs a taking a giant leap forward. From current themes of space travel to a return to all generations as one, tie-dye is taking all fashion lovers by storm through Spring 2019 and beyond.
Photography by Danielle Webster and Enrique Parrilla.
Model Chantel Barrett.