Live and Let Dye

Traditional Tie Dyeing

The earliest surviving examples of pre-Columbian tie-dye can be found in Peru and date from 500-800 A.D.  Their designs incorporate bright colors including red, yellow, blue, and green into small circle and line patterns.

Shibori (絞り染め Shiborizome), is a Japanese term for several methods of pattern dyeing by binding, stitching, folding, twisting, compressing, or capping.  Shibori includes a form of tie-dye that originated in Japan. It has been practiced there since at least the eighth century. Shibori includes a number of labor-intensive resist techniques including stitching elaborate patterns and tightly gathering the stitching before dying, forming intricate designs for kimonos.The practice of tie dyeing began in the United States by 1909 and hit the mainstream in the 20th Century, as part of the Hippie movement.

Modern Tie Dyeing

Tie-dye is a brightly colored, patterned textile or clothing which is made from knit or woven fabric, usually cotton, through a resist dyeing process.

Today we use a more modern version of traditional dyeing methods used in many cultures throughout the world. Tie-dyeing became fashionable in the West in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of hippie style. It was popularized in the United States by musicians such as John Sebastian, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Jimmy Buffet.

With its strong Japanese influence, the relevance of Tie-Dye in today’s martial arts is more apparent to Happy Kimonos than was originally perceived, What started out as a way to revitalize an old worn and tattered gi has unknowingly drawn from history.  Happy Kimonos will continue to explore historic dyeing means and methods in an effort to reintroduce these products into the modern world of martial arts.

History truly does repeat itself.

“Peace, Love and Gi Chokes”


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