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The Dye Hard Symposium offered new perspectives for the fashion industry

The symposium presents experienced facilitators to talk about the process and creation of dye

Cal+State+LA+showcase+their+fashion+creations
Cal State LA showcase their fashion creations

Cal State LA showcase their fashion creations

Marcela Valdivia

Marcela Valdivia

Cal State LA showcase their fashion creations

Marcela Valdivia, Staff Reporter

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On Monday, April 10, the Cal State LA Downtown campus hosted “Dye Hard Symposium” focusing on exploring contemporary dye practices.

Professor Carole Frances Lung decided to hold the “Dye Hard Symposium” after attending the 2016 Surface Design Association. Taking a tour at Valdese Weavers, the symposium allowed attendees to participate in conversations about the process and thinking behind dye with a variety of facilitators.

Mika Cho, Department Chair of the Department of Art, touched upon how the symposium offers educational discussions that allow for creative research to expand while facilitators share their knowledge about dye to others who are building their experience. “We are the researchers and without doing research we cannot do creative work.”

The symposium counted the presence of five facilitators from across the nation that were willing to share their experience and expertise in dye. The first roundtable discussion consisted of topics on community, technology, farming, and global. These topics focused on the process, inspiration, and techniques in creating dye.

Marianne Fairbanks teaches at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in the textile and fashion design department. Her extensive history of art making and dyeing concentrate on color in a solar textile research and artwork. She enjoys utilizing color as an attention grabber and intrigues people through fluorescent colors that are bold and bright.

Molly Keogh is co-founder of a clothing company, Osei-Duro, that creates contemporary western clothing using local handmade textiles. The idea for the company came to fruition when she took a trip to Ghana with her friend and worked with resist dyers to create something completely new in the clothing industry. In Ghana she discovered traditional textiles of dyes including strip weaving, factoring printing, and resist dyeing. “Osei-Duro has always been trained as an experiment, a dialogue, a meeting of techniques, and aesthetics,” said Molly Keogh.

Jane Palmer has a background in textiles and her inspiration of colors comes from where she lived. She spoke about her passion for natural dyes and how she opened the first natural dye house in the United States.  However, natural dyes are challenging to produce and she shifted her focus into developing a high performing natural dye made from agricultural waste that helps reduce water usage.

“Natural dyes are immense challenging because they use twice as much water as commercial reactive dyes, they fade really fast in the sun and for commercial purposes that is unacceptable, and they are also immensely expensive,” said Jane Palmer

Laura Sansone, creator of Textile Labs, spoke about regional production systems and clothing in textiles. Her organization, Textile Labs, focuses on design and research to promote regional ethical textile production through education. Essentially, the mission of her organization is to link regional textile systems together by connecting farmers, mills, consumers, and designers  through community projects. “The goal is to get people to understand the environmental and social impact of the textile supply chain,” said Laura Sansome.

Rowland Ricketts teaches textiles at Indiana University’s Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Art. His passion for dye emerged when he moved to Japan after graduating to teach English and discovered indigo as a powerful tool for dye. Living in an old farm house eventually sparked his artistic side and his passion for making different blue colored dyes. “My goal is to get the the indigo that I use out in the world and into the lives of others, while also using it as a vehicle to create connections, foster community, and engage others,” said Roland Ricketts.

A second round of discussions involved topics about market demands, color, and jousting capitalism.  These discussions concentrated on the process of thinking when dyeing through theoretical conversations.

In aspects of market demands, facilitators highlighted the importance of  keeping individuality in a product and satisfying what the consumer wants at the same time. The designer puts their soul into the work to reach a satisfying product that will impress the consumer. Also, designers take into consideration the trends or work on their own unique vision to reach market demands.

Color is crucial to the development of dyeing clothing because there are different meanings in cultural contexts. Color is extremely technical and everyone consume color in various manners based on their relationships and experiences. Color is complicated to desire because it changes with seasons based on what is on trend.

The jousting capitalism conversation touched upon teaching children about fashion and fast fashion. Facilitators highlighted the difference in price, quality, and work among fashion and fast fashion. These are issues people are not aware of when they purchase their clothing.

At the end of the symposium, attendees were able to take away important aspects of dye and how to utilize dye in different manners through different creations.

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The Dye Hard Symposium offered new perspectives for the fashion industry