Making Of: SS23 Tarp Dye Series

As we wrap up the SS23 season, cleaning out the office and making room for the first AW23 delivery, it gives a chance to spend some time with the samples for the show that never made it to production.  Every season we make a few pieces that never make it past being a sample.  This can be for a number of reasons but oftentimes it’s because it’s simply just too hard to produce.  A lot of the items you see in runway shows are created just to express the idea and made in a time crunch period that doesn’t really allow for the full storytelling.  In this little bit of downtime, I wanted to take the chance to talk about this specific set of items we made that were ultimately named the Tarp Dye Series & how they were made. 

A few weekends before we headed out to Paris, we spent a day in The Valley hand dyeing some fabric panels for this series.  Each panel started out as white cotton canvas cut into 2.5 yard blocks with the intention of making a different garment out of each panel we made.  They were all covered in a base layer of coffee, tea & some of them dirt.  Once fully rubbed in they were laid out in the sun to try, each coming out slightly unique from each other.  After that they were rolled up as tight as we could and the end of the rolls dipped in a dark turquoise / green dye bath, courtesy of our unofficial dye expert Juliet Johnstone.  After unrolling them & another round of sun drying, they were then painted using leftover green dye, paintbrushes, stencils & spray paint.  The goal was for each to be unique so the painting process was quite haphazard, though all following a general colour theme.

Fast forward a week & trip to the laundromat to wash the panels, they’re all laid out on a cutting table to begin deciding what to do with them all.  With all of our past season patterns at our disposal, we assigned each panel a different garment pattern.  The fabric ended up shrinking a little bit but only 1/7 pieces (the jumpsuit) needed more fabric than just the one panel it was planned for.

Pattern pieces were laid out somewhat at random with a little bit of effort going towards making sure they weren’t too symmetrical.  Once everything was laid out and confirmed, we began cutting.

Before leaving the factory for the day the last things to go over were zipper colours, button colours, sewing details and just making sure it was all cohesive, documenting the process along the way.

The first pieces finished were the bomber jacket and cargo pant.  My favourite way to test a style these days is doing it in the fabric you think it should be in, something safe, but then also doing it in something unexpected like these tarp dyes.  iPhone pictures on the studio floor taken 5 days or so pre flight to Paris, the other pieces came in the day before so they went straight into a suitcase.

5 of the tarp dye pieces made it into the runway show looks, as always styled by Savannah White.  Shown together in a set & paired with main collection pieces as well.

After show day, these items stayed hung up in their garment bags in the office for close to a year.  As we started wrapping up SS23 and clearing out the office, we shot our friend Kai in some looks as a styling exercise to start thinking of next season.  We made sure these pieces were included in this to 1, finally document them in a meaningful way & 2, start to think about how we can do more stuff like this.  These types of projects aren’t really viable for production but ultimately, they’re just fun.

Click any of the below photos of the SS23 tarp dye pieces to open the full collection of them. 

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