Tie Dye Eras

There are four Tie Dye Eras in America. The first two are 1964+ kicked off by the rebellious energy of youth and 1970+ kicked off by fashion designer Halston.

American tie dye began as a creative flag of rebellion protesting the Vietnam war. It said "I'm different. I don't think like everyone else. Ask me why."

Tie Dye Era 1 - 1964+

This is John Sebastian at Woodstock in 1969 wearing his own tie dye.Woodstock Tie Dye 1969 John Sebastian

The first tie dye era was kicked off by the rebellious creative energy of youth and grew rapidly with the help of dye manufacturers wanting to expand tie dye to sell their dye. The excerpt below is from 1964 at 100 Years of RIT 

“Don Price, a marketer at Rit, saw an opportunity to introduce the brand to some creative types he’d located in Greenwich Village. He advised Rit to replace its boxed powders with squeezable liquid dyes, better for creating multicolor designs. And when he heard about Woodstock, he funded artists to make several hundred tie-dye T-shirts to be sold at the festival.”

Grateful Dead, the greatest jam band ever, picked up the tie dye banner and sold it at their shows for 30 years. Tie dye became the flag of counterculture everywhere, and a symbol of cool.

Tie Dye Era 2 - 1970+

This is Marisa Berenson from Vogue magazine in 1970. She's the one on the leftVogue Tie Dye Marisa Berenson 1970

The tie dye fashion era was kicked off by Fashion designer Halston. He introduced tie dye to the fashion world. The excerpt below is from 1974 at 100 Years of RIT.

"Tie-dye far outlasted the Summer of Love. Rit ushered the look into high fashion, encouraging designers to incorporate tie-dye fabrics by Rit-approved artists Will and Eileen Richardson into their collections. Model Marisa Berenson posed in a tie-dyed kaftan by Halston in Vogue in 1970, and Ali McGraw was spotted in a tie-dye blouse while walking down Fifth Avenue the following year."

Tie dye became a symbol of hip.

Tie Dye Era 3 - 1990+

This is President Clinton's daughter in Neon tie dye in the 1990s.Neon tie dye and Chelsea Clinton 1990s

The Neon tie era was kicked off by suburban parents wanting to help their kids be cool. The original tie dye aesthetic (angst, rebellion, creativity) was used to sell the new neon tie dye aesthetic (happy, compliant, colorful).

It was great marketing. Parents and children each saw what they wanted to see and tie dye popularity surged.

Tie Dye Era 4 - 2010+

This is Bella Mal wearing a 2019 Dye Happy Amethyst ice tie dye Ice Tie Dye Shirt

The latest tie dye era was kicked off by a resurgence of creativity and low cost fiber reactive dyes. Tie dye got better and ice tie dye became practical and popular because of its watercolor effect.

Rising interest in minimalist designs explains why one color tie dye and one color shaded dip dye is now popular.

Bleach tie die, the inverse of tie dye, is also popular now. Instead of adding color to white fabric, it subtracts color from dark fabric.

Now you can wear four different art forms. Tie dye, Ice Tie Dye, Dip Dye, or Bleach Tie Dye.

Dye Happy

This our 2017 our one color tie dye called Sunshine Spiral.Spiral Tie Dye One Color

Some tie dye is beautiful and people are drawn to it because it makes them feel good. It's art therapy.

In July 2018 Fashion Magazine posted Tie-Dye Is Back, Whether You Like It or Not by Lauriane Belair. 

Today tie dye is more popular than ever. The world is out of control and you can't stop it, so make the best of it. 

  • Be optimistic!
  • There's still beauty in the world!