Colorado Springs tie-dye artists keep the groovy trend going | Culture & Leisure

Flipping through a clothing rack in a downtown Colorado Springs store, items with swirls and spirals of color are easily spotted.

A tie-dye shirt could be vintage, as evidenced by the ornate name of a group with 1970s hits. Another could have been designed just last month.

At Eclectic Co., which has two locations in town, you’ll find tie-dye clothing alongside an array of sweaters, plaid shirts, dresses and denim jackets representing styles from past decades. You’ll find retro tie dyes and newly made tie dyes for a retro look from vendors like MadZinnia and The Vibrant Owl.

It’s clear to see here: tie-dye has stood the test of time.

The pattern (or design?) is often seen on models at Target, H&M and Dior. This is one of those trends that has accelerated during the pandemic, according to multiple media outlets.

Tie dye in all shapes and sizes can also be seen on the social media pages of Colorado Springs artists selling their crafts.

One is Faith Friend, 26, a longtime tie-dye lover. Growing up in West Virginia in a family of artisans, she remembers being fascinated by the process of turning something simple into bursts of color.

“Tie-dye has always been a part of my life,” Friend said. “There is something magical in every article. You don’t know what you are going to get. It’s a mystery.”

After high school, she spent time traveling to area music festivals. To earn money buying festival tickets, Friend and her friend started selling tie-dye shirts.

Friend’s mother then started a tie-dyeing business, and two years ago Friend followed suit.

She runs Earthly Threads, her full-time job, mostly on Etsy and Instagram. Friend also set up shop at CO.ATI, among other in-person events.

It makes products from bucket hats to tank tops to underwear using the ice-dye process, which isn’t like those tie-dye kits of yore.

It involves placing ice cubes on the fabric and sprinkling dye powder over the ice. As the ice melts, the dye flows in unique patterns.

“It’s always something new because it always comes out in a different way,” Friend said. “Even today is the coolest part.”

She adds another touch by embroidering images, such as a peace sign, cartoon character or plants, onto dyed items.

Additionally, Friend makes a point of using second-hand clothes as a base.

The sustainability aspect is often mentioned by today’s dyers, like Madeline Cook, owner of Colorado-based company MadZinnia. It uses organic fabrics and vegetable dyes or fiber reactive dyes.

“With growing concern about the impact of the fashion industry on Mother Earth, I transitioned to only designing in this area,” Cook writes online. “I’ve stayed focused on the core values ​​I started with: making women feel empowered in designs that are infused with love and color.”

Wearing tie-dye isn’t just a look. It’s a lifestyle, says Friend.

“There’s a certain type of people who are drawn to tie-dye,” she said. “Maybe they look like you.”

And she can usually be seen wearing tie-dye. Just like his mother.

“Tie-dye has continued to be popular over the years and it’s passed down,” she said. “There are hippies in all generations.”


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