Back to all articles

The History of Tie-Dye

In the United States, tie-dye is most closely associated with 1960s counterculture, but it’s actually much older than that. For thousands of years, many cultures around the world have made use of tie-dye. The practice seems to have originated independently in each area, resulting in regionally specific styles, which then spread via trade routes. Tie-dye has been used in the U.S. since the early 20th century, when it was seen as a way for women to mimic French fabric styles and enliven old clothes. It is also famously associated with the 1960s and Woodstock, where many performers wore it onstage. In the following years, tie-dye went mainstream, but by the 1980s, it had fallen out of fashion. In the early 2000s, it re-emerged as a common craft project for kids and was often a key activity at summer camps and children’s birthday parties. Today, tie-dye is making a significant comeback and is particularly popular among today’s youth, perhaps due to its distinctly unpretentious and imperfect appearance, for nostalgic reasons, or for its association with change and optimism.

Share this article

card showing the history of rocking chairs

Your go-to guide for weird history facts

Subscribe to the FREE daily email that makes learning about history fun.