Ombre: the Latest Trend in Custom Apparel

 Ombre: the Latest Trend in Custom Apparel in Decatur, AL


Decatur, AL – Fashion, clothing trends, and signature looks are things that have come and gone since the beginning of civilization. Whether it is embroidering, beading, glitter or dyes, clothing has become more distinct, appealing, and has gone through a variety of changes. A very popular trend for the last decade or so has been Ombre or gradient dyes. A single hue fades into the darkness to simulate the colors in natural places like the sky at sunrise or the water in the ocean. Whatever the case may be it is certainly an artistic inspiration. But, where did this trend start in custom apparel? How old is it and who started the trend in the first place? The answer is rather surprising.Ombre, custom apparel


Ombre, like much of the English language today, was borrowed from French. It means “shadow” or “shading” which is a pretty self-explanatory definition if you learned about things like the color scheme.  For those who are not fans of painting, the definition of shading, in this context, means for a color that goes from light to dark. Not all people use the term Ombre specifically to mean that.  In ceramics, it is sometimes interchangeable with the Japanese term nerikomi, to mean a technique that involves two types of colored clay fading in one another. Other times, people who utilize computers for design call it a gradient. People who use the term more often are either in some type of salon work or do some interior decorating.

 How Did We Get Ombre?

The process itself is an offshoot of tie-dying or dip dying methods that have been a cultural cornerstone for China and Japan in both the T’ang Dynasty and Nara Period respectively. The techniques often included natural dyes, boiling water, and letting it soak. For the most part, the dye techniques were either homogenous in nature, or at least there were resistance techniques to showcase pattern.  There was also the technique of dip dying, where one half of the fabric would get more color treatment than the other. The intricate patterns of the tie-dye method that America associates with hippies in the ’60s were a byproduct of 6th-century techniques from India. Eventually, the term ombre for the dying technique specifically made its way to France in 1841.

However, the popularity of the ombre technique or gradients didn’t really take off until much later. Like in the early 2000’s later. That’s right, ombre as a fad or clothing technique didn’t take off until after the year 2000. It didn’t even make its way into the English dictionary until 2005. That means we are far more likely to track when it came into fashion for the US than most trends.

Grace Bonney

This first instance of the recorded trend was noticed by a fashion blogger in 2008 that went under the name Grace Bonney. According to the blogger,” Just about everyone and their brother has been posting about ombre lately and I’ve finally given into the trend.  For some reason, the faded look didn’t always grab me but something must have knocked me over the head in my sleep because I woke up this morning totally hooked on the look. Ombre really came back last year in fashion but it’s slowly, slowly starting to show up in the homeworld”.  This is keeping in with the time frame where America adopted the term, as it was starting to make waves.

ombre, custom apparel
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Celebrity Endorsement in Hair, Custom Apparel and Home Decor

Ombre started to make a splash in the hairstyling scene thanks to Britney Spear’s appearance in 2000. Her hair gradiated from a black to blonde fade, and it was enough to garner positive attention. Other celebrities like Lucy Hale and Nicole Kidman hopped on the bandwagon and helped popularize the trend. Ombre nails were also a trend that started in the music industry with Katy Perry and Victoria Beckham.

In the home decor and baking front, Martha Stewart made a point to tell her audience that Ombre was a “gentle progression of color” that serves as “a transition from wakefulness to slumber”. We even couldn’t get away from it in the movies, thanks to the costume design in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. As horrible as most fans thought the movie was, at least the ombre in the handmaiden costumes were gorgeous.

Ombre is a beautiful expression of color fades, and it is a fad that is interesting to see unfold. Custom apparel is always growing with innovative design and it’s always interesting to see what’s around the corner.

Want to learn more about custom apparel in Decatur, AL?  Maybe you want to order some. Visit us at to learn more.

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