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Tie-dye on the rise as a pandemic pastime

August 2, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Tie-dye has become an unofficial craft of this pandemic moment. The allure of color in these challenging times has people trying their hand at creating brilliant patterns on T-shirts and more while social distancing in the confines of home.

(CNN)For Danielle Somers, tie-dye has taken on ritual status during the pandemic.

When tie-dying, she takes her time preparing and setting up the different colors, placing the rubber bands on the cloth, dipping the cloth in the ink and then, in time, observing the surprising results.

Somers is one of many sheltering in place who have taken up tie-dying during the pandemic.

Tie-dying instructional videos regularly trend on TikTok and Instagram, and sales of fabric dye and tie-dye kits have risen significantly, according to those in the industry.

This makes tie-dye an unofficial craft of this pandemic moment, rivaling perhaps only homemade bread in popularity and devotion.

Why we tie-dye

Part of the appeal of tie-dye is practical.

A carefully folded fabric dyed in the centuries-old Japanese Shibori method can be as satisfying to a seasoned tie-dyer as a white T-shirt with a few blobs of color is to a preschooler.

"There is no bad tie-dye.

Tie-dye as therapy

The appeal of tie-dye is also metaphysical.

Tie-dye has many feel-good associations, like outdoor music festivals and summer camp.

They tie-dyed anyway.

She helped our 2-year-old with his (shirt), and our 1-year-old son got a tie-dye sweatshirt as well!" she said.

Joyandeh and other parents said tie-dying gave their children a sense of power in a moment when so much else has been taken from them.

There's also a strong link between tie-dye and counterculture movements, which many fans of the process appreciate.

Shabd Simon-Alexander, textile designer and author of the book "Tie-Dye," said that tie-dye tends to come back in fashion during moments of political turmoil, and started popping up on runways a few years ago before slowly creeping into more mainstream fashion.

"We associate tie-dye with the 1960s, when it took off in a time when people were trying to find a sense of self outside of establishment, and really wanting to express themselves in what they are wearing," she said.

Today, as many are frustrated with the state of affairs in terms of pandemic response and race relations, tie-dye might feel, consciously or not, like a small act of protest done from the safety of one's home.

Tie-dye has long been, and continues to be, for so many right now, a small act of optimism.

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