The Loss of a Model

Remember, last time I barged into your life, I reported of new snow at the Thaidye Corporate Headquarter (what a mouth-full for this little abode!)

Our son, who you know as one of the models on our web site, took me serious and went out for a sun-bath…

I know, I should be watching what I say, but I just tried to make a joke and told him he would not get enough sun, dressed up as he was. And what does this guy do – – he takes me serious…

Was not too bad, we could have just given him a hot bath and he would have thawed, but unfortunately I got distracted by other work and I did not notice that another big storm moved in …

… and we probably have to wait for all this snow to melt until we can get his modeling services again.

The Philosophy of the people behind ThaiDye.com

Today ThaiDye.com added a page to their web site laying out the underlying philosophy followed in running their business.

The main points are:

  1. 1. Giving back: At least 10% of the profits go the support children in the developing world.
  2. 2. Sustainable production: Where ever possible the switch has been done to natural fibers to produce the clothing.
  3. 3. Look for reasonable following of rules and regulations – no need to spend thousands to get government approval.
  4. 4. A sweat-shop free production environment, because happy people make happy product which make happy customers.

tie-dye 2.0

In the good old days a product was created and then sold – and that was it. OK, in the car market new and better models came out every so often, but a new model year could not really be seen as different versions of the same car.

But with the advent of software this changed. Software was so fast in its development cycle that programs were released before they were actually ready for prime time. A software publisher could not possibly admit to the fact that he had released an unfinished product and so the version was invented.

Iterations like version 1.0, 1.1, 1.4 etc were common. Often, when the publisher finally got it right a major version step was introduced – version 2.0.

Tongue in cheek we now call the mudmee tie-dye from ThaiDye.com “Tie-dye 2.0” – indicating that the good old hippie tie-dye worked and got the job done, but that only now, with the arrival of “Tie-dye 2.0” we finally got it right.

Here is a little video that tells the story…

Adventures in Tie-Dye

Today we have a guest story from Jason B. from Austin, Texas:

Having grown up during the flower-power days, tie-dye had always had a fascination for me. This is the story on how I finally got my act together and got right into the adventure of tie-dye. Not only the adventure of finding the right shop to buy my next shirt, but experiencing the exhilaration of creating one of those great pieces of clothing myself.

It all started one lazy Sunday afternoon with nothing to do but either hanging out with some friends or watching some re-run show on TV. I had more or less decided on the former and got into my closet to put on another shirt when one of those darn tie-dye t-shirts caught my eye.

Something happened within me and I abandoned the idea that I had only two choices what to do with myself and decided right there that this will be a more interesting afternoon. I wanted to make my own tie-dye shirt!

I had once, in the past, half-heartedly attempted to get my mind around the techniques used to tie-dye and invested in some books. They must be still somewhere! Fortunately my apartment was not too big and did not have too many places where a few book can hide. It only took about 10 minutes until I had unearthed one of those books.

I more or less skipped over the first chapter, which gave a bit of history of dyeing in general, then going into the specifics of tying before dyeing. Then it got interesting, showing the different ways on how to tie a t-shirt to create the different patterns.

Not everything I needed was in the house so I had to rush out to get rubber bands, string and other assorted little things the book told me about. I opted not to try to find the dyes but order them on-line after I had my shirts all tied up.

There were decisions to be made if I should go with dyes that are applied in a cold solution or one that requires a warm bath, and I thought that I would need more time to study the pros and cons of the options some more. But what I did get was a dozen of plain white t-shirts. I went with the 100% cotton because I had learned that those would take the dyes best. I also  found, on sale, one nice sweat jacket that I hope I will be able to convert into one just like the ones offered at this site, having really nice and colorful tie-dye jackets, which has been a great inspiration for me.

Two hours later I was back at my place with everything I would need to get creative. And that I did. I took one t-shirt and folded horizontal pleats to – hopefully – end up with horizontal stripes and then I thought that I better also make one with vertical pleats because vertical stripes make you appear slimmer and that would probably be good for me.

Finally, when midnight was not that far away any more, I had to put things away as the lazy Sunday, which had turned out to be a rather productive Sunday, would be over soon and work was expecting me full of energy.

I ended up with five t-shirts with different methods of tying as the book had taught me. I have mentioned above the site with these hooded jackets, and I also looked at one of the tie-dye t-shirts they have, made with the same techniques, and I even tried tying to get something like this. Only when I will do the dyeing on of the next lazy Sundays will I know if I succeeded.

I’m proud of myself today that I turned a lazy Sunday into such a productive day and that’s why I thought I write this little article to remind me again later how much better a Sunday can be if it’s not lazy.

More About Gigi’s Thailand Trip

(Newsletter reprint)

In response to our last newsletter some of you told us that you enjoyed the report about Gigi’s Thailand trip and that you wanted to hear more about it.

Obviously the big news was, as reported previously, that Gigi got to do an internship with the owner of our studio in Bangkok, Thailand, who is one of the very few people in the world with this great mastery of the traditional Mudmee tie-dye art.

Gigi had left Thailand many years ago to live in the US and now she had to re-learn what citizens of Bangkok have to do most every day – battling traffic. Since Gigi had left, Bangkok has expanded immensely. The increase in car traffic had brought it nearly to a stand-still. Often traffic is just grid-locked and you get faster from one place to another by walking.

But Thais are creative and inventive and solutions on different levels have been implemented to get a grip on the situation. On the private level are the operators of motor cycle taxis! Unimaginable for us here in the US, but a viable means of getting around cheaply in Bangkok.

One of the city-wide solutions for the traffic grid-lock has been the construction of the Sky-Train lines. These are (often elevated) city trains that quickly connect main points of the city, a very big city with estimates of size range from 7 to 20 million people.

When Gigi had to learn to commute to her internship, she had to employ several of the new means of transportation. Taking a normal taxi or private car would have just taken too long.

So, leaving the house of her friend, where she lived during her stay in Bangkok, she had to walk only a short distance until she could flag down one of the motor cycle taxis. The very low fare bought her a seat on the back and a short and sometimes scary ride to the next sky train station. After that it was half an hour on the train and then another ride with either a regular cab or another motor cycle taxi.

The whole trip took her between 60 and 90 minutes – not too bad for a commute in Bangkok. Then she put on her student hat and went to work. In the last newsletter we showed Gigi working on one piece being tied. I found this picture showing one element completed…

One part of a tie-dye piece finished tied

You can clearly see how tightly rubber bands are used to create resistant areas in the garment. When the whole piece is prepared like this – and HOW it is prepared that is the artistry – then it’s time for the bath in the dye.

There are many different dyes and methods, the one depicted here uses dye that is heated up pretty high to accomplish a fast and thorough setting of the color…

heated tie-dye bathes

You can see here that each of the baths has it own burner with a gas supply line to keep the dyes at the required temperature.

OK, this was another interruption of your busy day and now we let you get back to your other activities.

Christmas is approaching in giant step now and if you still need that one special present fo a friend, loved one – or yourself, there is still time (although little) to get something from Thaidye.com as we are shipping the same day by priority mail.

Our tie-dye bags make great presents as do the cotton jersey tie-dye scarves.

We are glad that you stayed with us to the very end of this letter and will see you at the tie-dye website www.ThaiDye.com.

PS: Right after Christmas we are planning to set up a little show-case, you sending us pictures wearing out tie-dye pieces with the chance to win a free hoodie – would you be interested, please let us know. Send us an email or leave a comment – thanks!

Back from Thailand

(Newsletter reprint)

The time before the holidays is always very busy for us at ThaiDye.com.
But who isn’t busy, right, getting everything ready?

In addition to the usual hectic this time we send our very own Gigi back to Thailand in order to get more ideas for some really unique tie-dye items for you for the holidays. And not only did she come back with great ideas for scarves and bags, we will tell you about later, but she also gained some incredible knowledge.

Here is what happened…

We might have mentioned that the studio in Thailand, where Gigi was first exposed the mudmee tie-dye, kept their process very confidential. No spies were allowed in the studio to witness the process of creating these traditional mudmee designs.

Gigi and the owner had become friends and so Gigi was allowed to learn the basics of mudmee tie-dye.

The trust developed to a degree that during this last visit Gigi was offered to take an apprenticeship in the studio to learn mudmee tie-dye from the ground up. You better believe that she took that opportunity with her full heart. Here you can see her working on tying a piece of fabric during her private class…

Gigi working on tie-dye

and here one of her pieces she did towards the end of her training…

Gigi's first tie-dye

Isn’t this amazing?

So, yes, this was the one big surprise that we did not expect in any form or fashion (pun intended). But equipped with all this new skill we will now be able to bring even better mudmee tie-dye.

The new items we can now offer due to all these events are soft and warm knit jersey scarves

Tie-dye scarf collection

and gorgeous and practical shoulder bags

tie-dye shoulder bag collection

OK, this was a little bit of an interruption of your day and I’m glad you stayed with me to the end of this post but now we let you get back to your other activities – we are certainly grateful that you took the time to read our news letter and will see you at the tie-dye website www.ThaiDye.com.