If you’ve secretly always fancied yourself as a bit of an urban hippie—the kind that likes to brew kombucha on her fire escape, say—then the idea of tie-dying summer whites using the contents of your fridge is pretty irresistible. It certainly was to me: When I heard that designer Kalen Kaminski was holding a master class in tie-dying using all-natural dyes, a rainbow of vegetable-colored whirlpools immediately flashed before my eyes.
“Well actually that one is technically beetle juice,” says Kaminki, as I peer into a glass topped with what looks like rosé. “It’s made with a species that’s indigenous to cactus in the Southwest.” There’s an alchemist’s array of jars filled with colorful liquid in the backyard of Jill Lindsey’s store in Brooklyn where Kaminski is teaching her new students. If you’ve ever came across Upstate, the line Kaminski creates, then you’ll know that she has the art of shibori, an ancient Japanese dyeing craft, down to a science; her latest collection of gorgeous silk tea dresses, kimonos, and tailored shirts come without a whiff of a festival burnout cliché.
“I remember when I was dyeing things in my bathtub, now my collection is produced at a dye house in L.A. for the most part,” she says dipping one of her signature boxy tees into a golden turmeric infusion. “So this is a fun side project.” Her techniques are a lot more intricate than the rubber-banding skills I picked up in kindergarten—and come with far more sophisticated names. I try my hand at what is known as itajime, a dye method that involves folding fabric in a series of triangular pleats with wooden pegs that leave a mosaic-like geometric pattern in their wake.
After several failed attempts with a peasant blouse and bowl of red cabbage–infused dye, I have better luck with the arashi technique, a type of tie-dye that is altogether less precise: The signature “stormy” motif is achieved by wrapping and bunching fabric around a plastic tube in a tight wormlike formation, and securing each end with metal pegs. And when I unravel the tightly bound band tee that’s been dipped in almost every pot of dye on the table, the result is an explosive kaleidoscope of color.
“The colors you can make with natural dyes are like no other,” says Kaminski, nodding approvingly at my latest attempt. “I can mix procion colors for days, but I still won’t achieve those hues.” Plus all it takes to make the color of these natural concoctions take is salt and white vinegar; Kaminski recommends you leave freshly dyed pieces to sit for 24 to 48 hours and hand-wash with a very gentle detergent, like Mrs. Meyer’s. As far as finding new and interesting color agents goes, though, you needn’t add anything new to your shopping list: discarded avocado pits, for example, will soak down to a nice shade of dusky pink. “Forget your summer juice cleanse,” says Kaminski jokingly as I hang up my new pieces to dry. “You can just drink the dye when you’re done.”
The post How One Vogue Editor Found the Secret to Summer Tie-Dye in Her Fridge appeared first on Vogue.
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