Hippies Meet Yuppies as a New Generation Is Fit to Be Tie-Dyed

updated 08/24/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/24/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The psychedelic splendor of the '60s seemed to be back—and front—when a crowd of about 55,000 gathered at California's Oakland Coliseum last month for a concert by the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan. There, engulfing the performers and other aging flower children like a collective flashback, was a kaleidoscopic sea of youths in gaudy tie-dyes. Calling themselves Dyes, a new generation of streak freaks is on the loose in the land, and just like their hippie forebears, they speak dreamily of a new sartorial solidarity. "It's almost like bikers wearing their colors," claims Jared Brown, 24, who sells tie-dyed T-shirts at Dead concerts. "If I see a Dye, I can just go up and talk to him, no problem."

Dye-hard Deadheads, however, aren't the only ones caught up in the revival. Teenagers across the country are twisting their clothes in rubber bands and coloring them to produce tie-dyes. "People our age are fighting conservatives and yuppies," explains Cheri Weitman, 23, a Rhode Island School of Design grad. "We're trying to bring back the '60s as a time of free expression, as in doing your own shirts."

Yuppies, however, will not be denied their participation in the fad. Boutiques like Chicago's Sugar Magnolia specialize in tie-dyed outfits of silk and rayon. L.A. designer Joanie Zappola, 38, who camped out at Woodstock in her younger days, sells tie-dyed evening gowns, at a minimum price of $1,500, to the likes of Falcon Crest's Ana Alicia. "In the '60s we were trying to bring back the love," says Zappola. "Now it seems to be happening again. You know—peace, love and tie-dye." Baby-boomer business types who have gone from tie-dyed rags to riches have even begun shelling out $18 to outfit their offspring in tie-dyed diaper sets.

Whatever the cost of the garment, the appeal of tie-dyeing is still its unpredictability. "It's like each time you make a tie-dye," says Deadhead Collin Manning, 22, "fate creates a different work of art." And, for some, a new profit margin too.

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