Shabd [pronounced SHA-bid], the designer behind the eponymous line that made tie-dye modern and cool, welcomed us into her studio this week and showed us all kinds of cool stuff in the Brooklyn space. We talked to her about inspirations, the process [the hand-dyeing takes place in the studio!] and the line's growth. We even got a quick demo from her on a dyeing technique [secrets!!].
Neatly folded piles of inspiration blankets, fabrics, and garments from her travels.
R// Tell us a bit about your newest collections! Do you dye them first or cut into garments then dyed?
S// There are two sides to the collection - there are the silks and there are the jerseys. The silks we dye by hand then cut to sew and jerseys we buy them already sewn then hand dye.
R// We saw some non-tie-dyed pieces in the collection. Are you moving away from tie dye?
S// I don't always want to wear tie dye on the top and the bottom... so they kind of complete the outfits, and make it easier to photograph, to wear myself.
R// When you expand, do you still dye everything by hand?
S// For Spring, we dyed 500 yards of fabric plus all the basics and scarves. You know, it took us a few months...
Left: A roll of hand-dyed silk.
Right: Dye swatches from the Fall '11 collection.
R// Did you have any inspirations for the Fall collection?
S// I was looking at a lot of Andrew Wyeth paintings and a lot of Rothko paintings. It was more a palette and a mood. My boyfriend makes these beautiful videos that were always inspirations for me... like right around or before the time I started tie-dyeing in my collection, I was watching his videos and I was like 'I wish I could just wear these videos on my body!'
A snapshot of the Fall '11 collection.
S// We just had hundreds of [dye swatches] laid out and I was choosing from them for my palette. And the ones I ended up picking were all very elemental. I kept calling the red one "magma" and the blue one looks like "arctica". They looked like earth, wind, fire, and water, so that's what I ended up calling the collection.
Shabd showing us a dye experiment gone awesome. Right: Detail.
S// I had one collection a few years ago that were all hand-painted. I laid the fabric out and there was plastic tarp on the floor, but you get all of these [patterns]. All this texture was accidental from the tarp. [pictured above] Which is the fun part of dyeing because you can only control of certain things and you get all these exciting things that you could've never planned out.
R// So what's behind the Spring collection?
S// I was looking at geos and marble, both in nature and architecture. It was all these stones and the way Mies van der Rohe pieced marble together in the Barcelona Pavilion. I also once went to Agyness Deyn's apartment and she has a bathroom that's the best bathroom I've ever been in in my life. Its floors and walls are made out of these huge 3' x 4' slabs of marble but all different colors. It's so beautiful in the way the different things interact, which were inspiration for both the piecing together of colors and the seaming that I did in the middle of the clothes.
R// What fabrics do you like to work with?
S// Everything that I dye has to be a natural fiber. I'm kind of a natural fiber girl anyway, and I don't like to wear synthetics. Silk takes so beautifully. It's actually a lot harder to work with or more unexpected than cottons, because the dyes aren't really calibrated for silks. You get such insane detailing on silk.
We looked at an inspiration collage for the geometric shapes in her collection and we saw an image of what we thought were pastries. They were folded wet t-shirts, ready to be dyed. Below is a demonstration of how Shabd would prepare a t-shirt for this specific dyeing effect.
R// If you were any shape, what shape would you be?
R// What do you like to listen to while you dye?
S// We make a mixtape every season.
R// Is Paris Hilton on it? [It had played on her laptop earlier.]
S// Yes! I know she's more summer than spring, but...
Here are few selects from the mixtape. We have no idea what will come up as the tracks were unnamed and we like surprises.
To get your hands on some beautiful hand-dyed silk long skirts, dresses, and tops (and a few jersey pieces), come by ROGAN at 330 Bowery x Bond NYC.