The second batch of discoveries from our jaunt through Liberty Fairs is indigo-drenched. Indigo is a native plant in Japan and the history of Indigo dye on the small eastern island runs deep, back to the 10th century. The technique boomed during the Edo period (1192-1333) due to the dye’s ability to cling well to cotton, the popular fabric of the lower classes at the time. By the early 1900’s almost 1400 acres were covered in indigo crop in Japan, now a mere 70 acres. The process of dyeing naturally is laborious, time-consuming and is carried on by skilled artisans. Traditionally Sukumo leaves, wheat bran, sake, hardwood ash and lime are combined in vats and fermented to produce the ocean hue. In Japanese culture the dye has been believed to contain protective properties from warning off insects and snakes in fields to sparing firemen burns. Out of the hundreds of booths at Liberty Fairs two stood out to us: Blue Blue Japan and Koromo.
Blue Blue Japan began in 1993 and designer Kenji Tsuji has been designing there since 2006. His designs usually contain bold, graphic interpretations of traditional Japanese motifs and patterns (waves, the sun, Mount Fuji, cherry blossoms, etc.). When his pieces aren’t emblazoned with beautiful images they are simple and highlight the beauty of traditional indigo dye. Many of the shirts are made with a tie dye technique called Shibori or have a dip dyed ombre fade. The construction of the garments is based on farm work wear. You can find Blue Blue Japan products at Union Made Goods, Mr Porter, and Hickoree’s. Read more about Kenji at mrporter.com.
Below this tattered patched jacket read a sign “This 100 year old fabric is Aizome (Indigo dyed cloth). The well used areas of the fabric are where it has been hand sewn over and over again. The clothes have been made out of this fabric as is. In times when things were scarce in Japan even a little fabric was considered precious. This preciousness is found in this cloth.”
Traditional Japanese stitching technique, sashiko, used on button detail.
For more photos, style inspiration, and information on denim and indigo techniques check out the Denim Therapy Tumblr and Pinterest pages.
All photographs credited to the author.
Feel that insane heat and blinding sunshine? Summer’s on the way, and we’re counting down the reasons we’re excited to bust out our favorite warm weather denim for a season of super-stylish fun in the sun.
Note: We know, these tie-dye shorts are amazing. Grab them at Nasty Gal.
1. No other season permits this spectrum of neons, tie-dyes, and brightly colored jeans be set free from your closet and paraded down the boardwalk. Don’t hold back on your favorite colors, whether you favor pastels or saturated electric hues.
2. What’s scandalous in the spring is common practice in the summer. It’s the only season where your cut-off shorts can resemble a bikini bottom in shortness and no one will think twice about it.
3. DIY! Cutting, slashing, distressing, dip-dying and applique are just a few of the ways you can take a pair of jeans you loved all winter and turn them into a summer dream. Need some ideas? Try this DIY.
4. The simple perfection of the basic jeans and a t-shirt combo is amplified in the summer, and while we love fall layering, this no-fail formula that dates back to denim’s pop culture debut is still a staple in looking fresh and “classic cool”.
5. Finally, it’s great to know that while this summer’s outdoor adventures might harm your jeans—from hiking to camping on the beach, or even dancing manically at summer music festivals—we’ll be right here waiting to fix them back up for you.
Get ready for an amazing summer, and remember us if you need expert denim repair, tailoring, shopping advice, and all things denim.
Tags: cut off shorts, denim shorts, dip dye, DIY, sexy jeans, summer 2012, summer denim, tie dye
Siwy Denim‘s spring denim collection is as sassy and fierce as ever, with colored denim options to brighten up your wardobe in a snap. Our favorite of the bunch? Dip-dyed cut-off shorts, perfect for pairing with filmy summer tanks, bandeau tops at the beach, or even a tailored blazer to rock at a (fashion-forward) summer internship.
Below: Alia in Tropical Ice / Camilla in Sunrise / Camilla in Air Kiss
Check out how we would style each pair for a breezy summer look below…
Below: Alia in Tropical Ice / Alice & Olivia Top / The Row Sunglasses / Dolce Vita Archer Flat Sandals
Below: Essie Steel-ing The Scene Polish / Topshop Crop Top / Camilla in Sunrise /Steve Madden Sandals
Below: Camilla in Air Kiss / Dasher Pointelle Sweater / ASOS Chain Bracelet / Whamm Espadrille Wedges
Shop Siwy Denim online and keep up with them on facebook.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: cut off shorts, destroyed denim, dip dye, Siwy Denim, spring 2012, spring style, tie dye
Welcome to your morning dose of denim news, links, sales, and inside info! Catch up on what’s happening and browse our personal picks for the most interesting what-not that turns up during our morning web crawl. Got a tip you think we should include, a sale you want to share, or a style you just saw and can’t live without? Email us!
1. Spice up your spring wardrobe with this tie-dye purple denim jacket from Topshop!
2. Not denim, but still worth the click! Selectism posted their guide to black rimmed glasses for specs-shopping pleasure/guidance/etc.
3. Read Rawr Denim’s exclusive interview with Andrew Chen & Johan Lam of 3sixteen:
“Solely dedicated to crafting timeless and premium products, 3sixteen has grown to become one of America’s most versatile and essential high-end menswear brands. Though the New York City label had its start in graphic tees, it wasn’t until they transitioned into a more minimal and utilitarian creative direction that they saw traction; especially with their coveted range of raw denim.” Read on.
4. There’s something about Ellen DeGeneres‘ lack of fashion sense that we find incredibly endearing. Here she is in her own minimalist version of the Double Denim trend.
5. Get your tomboy denim style on with Eat Sleep Denim’s guide to dressing like a mildly rebellious, extremely stylish prep school boy.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: colored denim, denim jacket, Ellen Degeneres, purple denim, sexy jeans, tie dye, tomboy style, topshop denim
Feeling creative? We’re going to show you one way to take a boring old pair of shorts and turn them into a super-happening pair of strategically bleached-out cut-offs! If you’re looking for a professional bleach job or dye job done by the pros, Denim Therapy offers incredible bleach/dye services that will turn your jeans into a dream. But if you want to experiment and have some fun, read on and we’ll guide you through one of the many ways you can modify your denim!
We started out with a pair of bright blue shorts (with a bit of stretch) that hit just below the knee. We decided to give these run-of-the-mill bottoms a new life by turning them into a multi-color, semi-destroyed pair of cut-offs.
Step 1. Cut them to your preferred length. There are no definite measurements for this—it’s up to you if you want to show a bit of your behind or if you want to be more modest. Always try them on, and then mark them. Remember the fabric will rise up about 1/2″ once cut, depending on the fiber content. Cut them longer if you plan to cuff them up.
Step 2. Do a bit of destroying. You can always continue after you have finished bleaching them. Use a scissor, razor, or any rough/sharp edge. Separate fibers at the hem and slits you make in the denim (patience is a virtue). You will see an increase in fringe and loose threads after you wash them, so don’t worry if they look too clean cut at the beginning.
Step 3. Set up a bleaching station. You will need bleach, a bin of water and bleach (our ratio was 2/3 bleach, 1/3 water—but you’ll have to experiment to find your ideal mixture according to your denim’s wash, texture, and fiber content), protective gloves, and a toothbrush.
Be sure you’re doing this in a well-ventilated area, such as nearby an open window.
Step 4. Apply bleach with toothbrush. Flick, spray, splatter, and otherwise distribute the bleach how ever you please. We brushed ours downward from the seamline of the waistband, and then flicked some bleach at random on the fabric.
Step 5. Wait and watch! If the denim isn’t quite bleaching, add more.
Step 6. Repeat step 5 until you’re happy with your bleach-out! At this point, we added a towel to keep the bleach from hitting the wood base the denim was laying on.
Step 7. Once the front is dry, you can rinse and dry, or flip them over and do the same thing (quickly, because you don’t want the bleach to sit in the denim too long). By now you’ll have a good idea of how much bleach to use and how long to leave it.
We also added faux-pockets with bleach to our shorts, because the welt pockets weren’t doing it for us.
Step 8. Rinse thoroughly in hot water (don’t worry if some of the dye runs out of the shorts. It’s probably going to happen—just make sure there are no dishes in your sink). Hang them or lay them to dry somewhere with plenty of ventilation. Once they’re dry, you’re done!
Step 9. Embellish! If you’re feeling extra creative, grab a patch or some studs, and decorate your shorts!
In one afternoon, you can have brand new shorts to flaunt. Be sure to take them out this weekend, and make your friend jealous. If they ask where you got ’em, tell them about your friends at Denim Therapy. *wink wink*
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: acid wash, bleached denim, bleaching services, cut off shorts, denim bleaching tutorial, Denim Therapy, DIY, how to bleach denim, summer denim, tie dye
We came across this gorgeous denim jacket street style by Lena A. on Lookbook that put the essence of contemporary tie-dye on the table—and in case you haven’t heard, tie-dye is making a massive comeback for summer. It brings rock’n’roll and straight-up bohemian together, and when you mix it with a floor-length white skirt, there’s an angelic aura of hippie-chic that will be just as comfortable in the mid-day heat as it will be on hot summer nights.
If you love this look like we do, scroll below for the breakdown and find out how you can score these pieces and rock this outfit on your own.
1. Buffalo “Kenna” Tie-Dye Top ($39) – buy it at Dillard’s.
2. Rag & Bone denim jacket ($265) – buy it at Net-A-Porter.
3. Isda & Co Summer Gauze Skirt ($185) – buy it at Zappos.
4. Ciao Bella Fort Pierce Sandal ($30) – buy it at DSW.
—Michelle Christina Larsen
Tags: full length skirt, long white skirt, maxi skirt, rag & bone, summer denim trends, summer sandals, tie dye
Australian fashion label Sass & Bide has proven they are certainly not one-hit wonders. Firmly established as a coveted denim brand, loved the world over by celebrities and stylish people, there will be plenty to go around for Spring-Summer 2011, including a taste of their Pre-Fall 2011 collection. If you’re looking to spice things up in your wardrobe, then Sass & Bide’s “papa-sucre” collection won’t disappoint. You’ll find some muted color denim, tie-dye, and graphic jeans; there are jeans for every taste. Now a worldwide brand, Sass & Bide has not lost its Australian identity, what with huge references to desert themes and Aboriginal tribal influences, every piece is urban runway worthy and stands up on its own. We were pleased with the abundance of denim in this collection. Take a look at some of our favorite picks or view the entire Sass & Bide denim collection in the gallery.
To view the entire papa-sucre fashion collection, go to Sass & Bide online.
—Kathy Ng Hassan
Tags: Sass & Bide, sass & bide jeans, sass and bide, sass and bide jeans, sass and bide online, tie dye
Have you grown a little — dare I say — bored of your favorite go-to jeans? Denim Therapy is here to help.
Introducing Denim Therapy’s new Dye Service. Denim Therapy’s newest therapist is a dye expert. He has over 30 years of experience servicing the biggest names in fashion. With him on our team, we have come up with a variety of denim dye processes. We treat every jean individually, ensuring your loved ones return a masterpiece, crafted from the finest of artisans.
Re-dye. Tie-dye. Stone Wash. Denim Therapy's new Dye Service.
Want a color change? Need a complete re-dye or just a splash of color? Denim Therapy can resurrect, refashion and rebuild your relationship with your trusty jeans. In just two weeks time, you can rock your hot custom jeans that nobody else has.
— Kathy Ng Hassan
Tags: denim wash, re-dye, tie dye