I’ve personally known Charlie for a few years, some would call it an Internet friendship, I would call it a mutual love of tack, Japan and vintage: She is a fellow grown up mosher. One of the good ones, Charlie, was always going to be one of the first I wanted to include in this project.
When she started Dye Baby I knew this was going to be born of an amalgamation of awesomeness. From the best colour combos, oversize fits and great collaborations with brands such TSPTR, she is onto a winner and I can’t wait to see what she does next.
- Tell us about yourself and your brand.
Hey! I’m Charlie and my brand is Dye Baby. I dye and bleach textiles, garments and vintage clothes using low immersion techniques, as sustainably as possible (but I’m not a “sustainable brand” – eww). I started dyeing stuff about a decade ago when I was very into japanese repro and vintage, specifically sashiko/boro and indigo techniques (would LOVE to go to Japan and study it further). Just under 2 years ago I started taking it a bit more seriously/experimenting with palettes, different types of dye and tying techniques and then in April of 2019 I started Dye Baby. The name was never meant to be permanent but… it’s still here so I guess it is?
- What are your Inspirations?
Inspiration comes from all over the place. I studied History of Arts & Crafts at uni and became obsessed with vintage fabrics, vintage palettes and the ancient methods of dyeing and weaving textiles pretty early on. Odd surfaces and natural materials inspire me (pebbles, rock formations, peeling paint, marble) How colours, mix, combine and look side by side. Artists such as Philip Guston, Georgia O’Keefe, Gunta Stolzl (and the bauhaus weaving workshop generally), Saloua Raouda Choucair (omg love her so much) and obv Yayoi Kusama all inspire and continue to inspire.
I think I’m propelled forward by politics and a constant rage – if I’m able to keep this tiny business afloat then maybe I can pass on my good fortune whether that’s sharing skills or contributing funds to causes and political movements I think are important.
My lord and saviour John Waters is a constant reminder to ‘have faith in your own bad taste’, and basically give no shits. He keeps me on the straight and narrow – working hard and never for popularities sake.
Pop culture forevs; bootlegs, Nora Ephron interiors, Japanese cartoons, early 2000’s MTV, Buffy, nu-metal, crisp packets, Croydon, Troma movies, Anthony Bourdain, fruits magazine, Kathleen Hannah, Amanda Lepore, Marques Almeida, bubble tea and holographic stickers.
- Lets chat about social media- a hindrance or help?
I love and hate it. Most, if not all, of my business has come via instagram in some way or another so that’s been great. It’s an amazing platform for small businesses to use but I think the pressure to stay relevant, create content and promote ‘reach’ is so detrimental. I’m sure some artists and makers find it comes naturally to them, but for me it’s a cesspool. I find I constantly compare myself to more successful brands and really struggle with the algorithm (they are always moving the goalposts and it’s exhausting). I don’t think Instagram is particularly useful in terms of creativity or productivity BUT I find it incredibly important re: activism and making sure I’m informed of current events, political news and for sourcing resources.
- Where would you like your business to be in a few years and do you have any advice?
I’d like to get to a point where I’m able to start producing more textiles and working with other decorative techniques (rather than just dyeing garments). At the moment I’m flat-out with wholesale and soon I’ll start producing bits and bobs for the holiday season – it doesn’t give me much time to play which I miss. I’m super grateful that I’ve been able to grow Dye Baby, especially this year, but going forward it’ll definitely be a little more experimental, working with high end fabrics, interior pieces and… weirder stuff. And hopefully I’ll become more organised?
- Who are your favourite small businesses or creatives doing interesting things?
I’m mostly here for that good good fashion history/curation but below are my faves biz/creatives wise
@risaasama (followed her since day 1, no ceramics compare imo – pure joy. I’m so obsessed with Nerikomi it hurts).