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Tie-Dye Takeover: Quarantine’s Biggest Trend

Caitlin Bright

When a trend really blows up, I find myself contemplating the origin. How did this happen and where did it begin? Meryl Streep’s monologue in The Devil Wears Prada (you know the one) about the color cerulean trickling down from the runway plays in my head more often than I care to admit.

If you’ve been whiling away the hours in isolation with any form of social media, you’ve likely seen a tie-dye sweatsuit or ten. Every Instagram influencer and TikTok talentress is swathed in comfy cozy tie-dye. So where did the current quarantine tie-dye takeover start? Let’s retrace fashion’s steps.

Influencer Danielle Bernstein shares her tie-dye

The first recent onslaught of runway tie-dye was seen in the spring ‘19 collections. From lesser-known brands like Eckhaus Latta and R13, there were plenty of examples. The one that struck me, though, was Polo Ralph Lauren’s spring ‘19 ready to wear lookbook. Ralph is typically synonymous with preppy polo shirts and classic khaki. To see him dabble in a more bohemian/artsy vibe like tie-dye felt like a Big Deal. Sure enough, the trend caught on like wildfire, popping up among our go-to boutique brands and allowing us to stock the store with vintage tie-dye thermals this past fall.


Image of Polo Ralph Lauren collection via vogue.com

So why is tie-dye having such a massive, inescapable resurgence right now? Ultimately, we just weren’t ready to let the trend go. Tie-dye holds feelings of comfort and nostalgia for many, conjuring images of summer and childhood, especially for the 90s babies. During this anxiety-inducing time, we need all the comfort we can get. Not to mention, quarantine has seen a major boom in DIY projects. We’re baking bread, taking on home improvement, and crafting our hearts out in an attempt to regain some semblance of control and normalcy. Why not gravitate toward a DIY style like tie-dye, whether that means making it ourselves or appreciating the time and care someone else took in the process of making it for us?

At Wallflower Vagabond, we appreciate trends and often follow them, but try to do so in our own unique way. Feeling the tie-dye buzz and noticing the excitement it elicited in our clientele, I took matters into my own hands. I ordered a double batch of oversized sweatshirts and went back to our roots with reverse tie-dye using bleach. We used this method a ton at the old store — on vintage band tees, flannels, and Pittsburgh sports gear — and it was always a big hit.

Wallflower Vagabond’s reverse tie-dye

Doing a little writing feels like going back to my roots as well. I was a fashion writer before becoming a boutique owner and I’m looking forward to merging the two skills. Hopefully this sweatshirt collection can be a bright spot in your quarantine and this blog post gave you something interesting to read! If you’ve made it this far, thank you. Keep an eye out for more posts in the future.


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