Tie-dye! The ancient eastern technique and former symbol of psychedelia has been enjoying a stunning revival. Is it the current Zeitgeist of protest and change? The rise of DIY fashion? Is the Aquarian Age finally dawning? Whatever its source may be, New York label Shabd takes the trend to new heights.
Artist Shabd Simon-Alexander bestowed her fabulous name upon the label in 2009 when she made apparel her medium of choice, treading the borderlands of art and fashion, favoring neither above the other. Now in their 4th season, Shabd designs really are works of art: all fabric hand dyed by the artist herself within the Williamsburg studio and each piece crafted in New York’s garment district. Shabd’s work celebrates the history and culture inherent handy dyeing, applying this to trans-cultural, inter-seasonal, highly versatile looks.
Shabd ‘Magma Shoreline Dress’
No longer bound by t-shirts and concentric circles, tie-dye has a seemingly limitless potential for mirroring nature. Shabd harnesses this phenomena by delving into alchemy and releasing patterns of “lichen, magma, the cold winter sky, ocean cliff sides, and digital video glitches.” The present collection channels an array of seemingly unrelated influences: Shibori dyeing techniques, Indian kirtans, Mongolian wrapped tunics and Icelandic volcano ash. Elemental tones ranging from icy blue to deep garnet offer up an unexpected, yet perfectly fresh palette for hazy winter days.
Shabd ‘Lichen Bedrock Dress’
Shabd’s mastery of the technique even landed her a spot on the Martha Stewart show, tie-dyeing cosmos-inspired leggings with the world’s happiest homemaker. Potter Craft, a division of Random House Publishing, also invited Shabd to design a how-to book for the fashionable tie-dyer, to be released in spring 2013.
Shabd ‘Element Legging: Water’
The cobblestone effect is a far cry from Wavy Gravy –
Shabd ‘Cobblestone Parcel Skirt’
Shabd Alexander-Simon also teaches tie-dye courses on the Textile Arts Center in New York City. Follow Shabd’s blog for updates on future classes and textile workshops.
Fiber Reactive Dyes created by Shabd
A special thanks to Emilie Florenkowsky for contributing this piece.
Freelance writer and translator Emilie Florenkowsky has lived in Berlin since 2005. Try her online journal of art, science and all points in between, META magazine.