Garment dye is special dye that is used to add color to finished garments. There are a number of advantages to using this dye to color finished garments as opposed to dying raw fabric or individual pieces, and many companies that offer dyeing and fabric finishing have a division specifically for this purpose. People can also use dye at home to revitalize old garments, or to change the color of a garment to a more appropriate or desirable shade.
In the garment industry, garment dyeing is often touted as a highly flexible and useful type of dyeing. With garment dye, a company can customize the color of a batch of garments, dyeing anywhere between one and 1,000 (or more) garments. This process can be used to create custom garments for specific events, and also to create stock to respond to demands for particular colors and styles. “Just in time dyeing,” as it is sometimes called, can be used to manage inventory, ensuring that companies do not end up with an excess of unwanted clothes at the end of the season.
In contrast with garment dying, in which a whole, finished garment is dipped in a dye bath and processed, some manufacturers use piece dying, in which the cut pieces of fabric are dyed before the garment is assembled, or whole bolts of fabric are dyed and then cut as needed. The disadvantage to this technique is that if the color proves to be unpopular, the manufacturer will be stuck with clothes of the wrong color, and it may be unable to sell them.
In addition to being used on new clothes designed for retail sale, garment dye can also be applied to used clothes. Some companies offer dyes as part of their restoration services for older garments; they can either re-dye a garment with a color similar to that used originally, or they can radically change the color. The dye can also cover up stains and faded spots, as in the case of a taupe jacket that is dyed navy so that it can be used again.
For retailers, garment dye carries another advantage in addition to creating flexible inventory: garment-dyed goods are also preshrunk. This means that consumers know how clothes will fit when they are tried on in the store, and requests for returns are greatly reduced, since the garments will not shrink when washed and dried.