The knowledge and use of colour or dye on cotton, wool and silk began with the dawn of civilization and was first developed in the East, particularly in India. Colour was considered by ancient people as a basic necessity as essential as food and water. They also looked upon it as possessing a protectiveness to keep them from the spells of evil spirits. The herb Turmeric with its intense yellow hue has been used since ancient times and was the very beginning of the art of colour dying.
Some historians believe that the origins of Tie and Dye were first developed in Jaipur over 3000 years ago. “Bandhana” is another word for Tie-dye in India and the dyers are known as “Bandhani”. They grow their nails long enough to be able to pick up small points of material to bind with matchsticks, producing little dots on the fabric.
As the name implies the technique of Tie and Dye involves tying sections of the fabric where the dye is not wanted to appear and then immersing the material into vats of coloured dye. Using natural and azo free dyes are common in India and that is what is used to dye all Nomads garments. The fabric can then be untied and retied again to add other colours and patterns onto the material in different areas. Tie-dye is practiced today all over India and it is one of the oldest and most traditional methods of “printing” for textiles. Every pattern that is created has its own unique meaning. Some are especially dyed for brides, “chandokhni and shikhara”. Others represent different elements of nature: the “basant bahar” for spring flowers and “mor zad” is a peacock pattern.
At Nomads we regularly introduce the wonders of Tie-Dye into our clothing designs. This allows us to experiment with both traditional and “fancy” patterns with our tailors and craftspeople in India. Being able to offer this ancient method of dyeing on Organic Cotton is a perfect way of bringing the greatness of the past into the present day.