Artists are often defined by their positive freedom-loving and convention-defying ways. Every artist has a unique way of looking at things and to express how they feel through art. We believe that every piece of art has a story to tell and reflects the unique personality and expression of its creator. For a fashion designer, Dee Silkie, it was her eternal love for tie-dyeing and passion for traveling that translated into a successful career.
Each piece of luxury streetwear crafted by her carries a conceptual undertone and makes you wonder about the story behind it. From organizing tie-dye themed birthday parties as a kid to having her work featured in the George Fry Gallery, Dee has a story to inspire us all. She was one of the sixteen designers chosen to participate in the Cashmere Collection 2019 and she’s also had the honor to showcase her work twice at the Atlantic Fashion Week.
We sat with Dee to learn more about her journey and the true art of textile dyeing. Here is what she had to say:1. Tell us a little bit about how you got started and your journey, in the art of fabric dying.
When I was a little girl I used to love to tie-dye so much that I would have tie-dye themed birthday parties! I even had tie-dye wallpaper on the walls of my bedroom. I just couldn't get enough of bright colours and intricate patterns. When I got older I attended Batik classes at St. Francis Xavier University and it woke something up inside of me. I wasn't able to sleep at night because my mind would spin with ideas for the next batik I would create. Two years into university, I left and transferred to the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design where I studied surface design and textiles2.
2. Who is a “Silkie” girl/guy and how did that start?
A "Silkie" is someone who is confident in their own skin. They might not love every aspect of themselves but they accept themselves for who they are, and they focus on the parts about themselves that they love. For example, I have great legs so I rock the short-shorts every summer and I make no apologies for it. "Silkie" was something that started pretty organically. A couple of friends of mine nicknamed me "Silkie" because at the time I was mostly working with silk fabric. The name sort of stuck. I started calling my followers on Instagram Silkie girls and Silkie guys and it caught on!3. What inspires you when you are dying fabrics or projects? And what types of products do you make?
I absolutely LOVE to travel. My favorite trip so far was when I went to Guatemala in 2015. There is something about living out of a backpack and realizing that the world is so much bigger than you are that is super magical. I try to incorporate that feeling of freedom into all of my work so that when people purchase a silk pillowcase or a tie-dye sweater they can own their own piece of paradise, and experience that same feeling of wonder and freedom.
My style is fun! I don't shy away from bright colours or bold prints. Life is too short to only wear black!
I think one of the best moments in my career to date was when a Silkie girl asked me to make her bridesmaids dress. I created a gorgeous cocktail dress with a sexy slit up the leg and a cowl neck. We chose a super-smooth silk charmeuse that draped around her like liquid gold. It fit her like a glove and is still to this day one of my favorite pieces.6. How many techniques do you think there are in dying a t-shirt, how many do you do and what is your favorite?
There are tons of different tie-dye and shibori techniques. The possibilities are endless. My favourites to make however are the crinkle technique and the swirl technique.7. What is your process like for hand-dying?
My process is very methodical. I have been dyeing for so many years that I generally have an idea of how things are going to turn out before I do them. I typically like to build from a vibe or a colour palette and then depending on what my client is looking for I determine what technique I am going to use and build from there. I don't like to be rushed when I am working and I like to slowly build up layers of colours over time.
Depending on the type of pattern you are aiming for, there are many products you can use to create different effects. My go-to's are little rubber bands from the dollar store and dental floss, believe it or not! Marbles and rocks are also good tools and this one time, I even used dried up chickpeas!9. What are your tips for beginners who want to try out tie-dyeing their t-shirts at home?
My best advice would be, "don't stress out!!!!" The beautiful thing about tie-dye is that there is no wrong or right way to do it. The important thing is that you just have fun! Having said that, take things slow. You can always add color, but it is harder to take it away.10. What were you doing and who were you with the last time you had a really good laugh?
I have really bad heartburn, and one night my husband started talking in this super strange voice listing off all of the foods that gave me heartburn. It was the strangest thing and it came out of nowhere, but we laughed and laughed
for a good hour. I couldn't breathe! It was so funny!
DEE's "It's All Good" Collab With The Good Tee
The Good Tee is super excited to Collab with Dee Silkie and watch her translate our blank canvases into beautiful unique pieces of art. The "it's all good" tee is bringing back a sense of craftsmanship that only arises when people take the time to make things with their hands.
The "it's all good" tee is available in six different patterns/colours and comes in toddler, youth and adult sizes. Blue swirl, blue splatter, rainbow swirl, rainbow splatter, blue and red swirl or blue and red splatter.
Hand-dyed by Dee Silkie in Toronto Canada, these tee's are available for pre-order only, which means they are made to order and will only be available for a limited time!
Select your size, colour and pattern and Dee will dye your tee with love just for you. Pre-order here.
Want to share your home-grown experiments with us! Go ahead and drop us a comment. We’d love to hear from you ❤️
Contributing Author: Bhavya Jha