|St. Maires Gazzette Record, January 31, 1999.
"NO GARMENT UNDYED"
By Ralph Bartholdt
It was an unusual offer by a man whose pants were at his ankles.
His boxers were cotton. Arlene Falcon looked them over.
"Yeah, I can do those in tye-dye," she told him.
Since that autumn day at Spokane's Pig Out in the Park when a founder of Clotho, LTD. dropped his trousers as part of a business transaction, ms. Falcon has been custom tie-dying boxer shorts. More than 450 at a time.
Clotho is a Coeur d'Alene clothing manufacturer that makes a line of pajamas and boxer underwear called Uglies.
Ms. Falcon owns and operates Tye Dye Everything, with stores in St. Maries and Moscow.
The man wanted Ms. Falcon to tie-dye boxers as part of a new clothing line.
Theirs was a meeting of materials.
The shorts are made from five separate cotton panels. Each panel is dyed differently, so no pair of tie-dyed Uglies boxers are alike, and Clotho names its underwear. The ones dyed in Ms. Falcon's shop at 1117 Main Avenue are called Freakin' Uglies according to the manufacturer's catalog.
They are offshoots of a fad thought to have reached its zenith in the 1960s when tie-dyed clothing was favored by the rock n' roll set.
As checkered flannel, however, tie-dyed prints have become a staple in the clothing industry. They have diverse appeal.
Local sports teams use them.
That pleases Ms. Falcon who for ten years has made a business of tie dying.
"A friend said it's a fad that won't last forever," Ms. Falcon said of her beginnings. She didn't heed the advice. "Here it is 1999, and it's still going."
From McDonald's advertisements to Barbie Doll outfits, tie-dyed clothing is in,
which keeps business at Tye-Dye Everything flowing.
"It has just taken off," Ms. Falcon said. "I'm getting calls from all over the place."
She has customers in Oregon, Washington, California and some interested parties in the Midwest who have contacted her via Internet.
She hasn't pursued the Midwest market, but may, soon.
"That's for future growth," she said.
When KKZX, Spokane's classic rock radio station, needed something typically post-modern to give away as part of the 60s weekend last month, promoters knew where to look.
"When they needed tie-dye, they called me," Ms. Falcon said.
Her shop in the Main avenue mall is tucked into a small corner of the boardwalk nest to the office of the Pines Motel.
Outside, a tie-dyed cloth wind-whirl spins like a stretched out Slinky in a slight breeze. Inside are racks of clothing that fit all sizes and dispositions.
There are rainbow dresses for "little old ladies" (one of her customers, an elderly lady, calls her rainbow dress, her happy dress, Ms. Falcon confides) to rompers for toddlers.
At a WSU arts and crafts fair last year the hottest selling items weren't teenage clothing, she said, but baby clothing.
She sells sarongs to a Sandpoint dance group, and a California Christian organization has contracted her to tie-dye chef hats for an annual outing.
Tye Dye Everything's flyer includes more that 70 items from tablecloths to sports bras and baseball shirts in a variety of sizes including 6X. Prices range from $3.50 for a dyed scrunchie, to $45 for a long dress.
With business booming, Ms. Falcon is considering her options.
"I'm contemplating expanding more in the mail order and Internet business," she said. "I feel real lucky…doing something I really like."