When Maria Hanley arrived in Ibiza during her final year in university, little did she know she was embarking on a journey of a lifetime. She founded Island Dye, a fashion brand specializing in high-end tie dye designs, at the height of the pandemic. Fast forward to 2 years later, Island Dye is stocked in 15 international luxury outlets, and became the best kept secret amongst fashion insiders around the world.
“I’ve always been passionate when it comes to fashion, and Island Dye happened very naturally.” The 24-year-old (Hanley was 22 when she founded the brand in May 2020) started by practising different techniques on white pieces of clothing she had lying at home. “Tie-dye became my quarantine past-time. I had always loved the idea of starting my own brand and was enjoying the art of tie-dying which is when I decided to start posting my work on Instagram, where I received my very first customers.”
Soft-spoken, gentle-mannered, preferring a night in her studio over partying — despite not being typical of what one may consider an Ibiza-lover to be, there are multiple reasons why Hanley’s creative journey was destined to begin on this beautiful island. “I’ve always visited Ibiza regularly since I was a child and living on this island has always been a dream of mine. Additionally, I was drawn to the history of tie-dye during the 60s in Ibiza — the hippy era!” The founder tells me with a smile.
It’s easy to forget Hanley’s age, for that she speaks of her work, the brand’s core value and purpose, as well as the future of herself as a founder/designer with such considered and well thought out views.
“In the beginning, I was curious to see how I could upcycle old garments through the different tie-dye techniques — it was essentially combining art with clothing.” As a young brand, Island Dye has been devoted to sustainability and social responsibility from day 1. With every piece designed and hand-dyed locally in Ibiza, the founder/designer keeps her environmental waste and carbon footprint to a minimum wherever she can. She’s still actively seeking a completely natural dye that’s environmentally harmless without compromising on the brightness of her signature designs.
Island Dye’s pieces are loved by many, including some of fashion’s biggest names — including Chiara Ferragni, who has recently visited Island Dye’s idyllic pop-up at the Cala Gracioneta Chiringuito beach restaurant and dressed her entire family in nothing but Island Dye. “I would describe the brand’s aesthetics as fun, comfortable and naturally ‘artistic’ as each piece is hand-dyed, unique (1 of 1) and never meant to be completely perfect.” The founder’s own style reflects Island Dye’s personality perfectly — colorful, stylish and playful.
Having had so many breakthroughs since the brand’s establishment without any marketing or professional press, for Hanley, the most significant moment came this summer when Island Dye was stocked at the Lamarca Well store in Madrid. “At the very beginning of Island Dye, I visited this amazing concept store and left with the goal of one day being part of it — this definitely felt like a milestone for me.”
When asked about how Island Dye’s designs are so well-received, and in particular, differ from other tie dye brands, Hanley doesn’t hesitate: “By our unique choice of color combinations used across our range of clothing — I truly believe there is a color combination for everyone. I also think the style of our garments sets us apart from the ‘classic’ tie-dye garments that consumers are used to seeing. I’d describe Island Dye’s aesthetics as ‘stylish athleisure.’”
There is no plan in Hanley’s books to slow down any time soon: Island Dye’s kids collection, launched in 2021, has proven to be immensely popular and this summer’s new floaty beach shirts and trousers set also became an instant fan-favorite. “I would love to grow the brand more, and experiment with different categories in addition to clothing.”
Watch the space.
Island Dye’s pieces can be ordered online at www.islanddye.com and a number of international retailers.