Going to a show and coming home with a black concert tee puts personality close to the chest for all to recognize and knowingly nod at. After years of living in the memories of an awesome night out, the dyed black becomes a hard gray as the love of music counts both the years and washing cycles.

The records still spin, but there’s a comfortable warmth fuzzed into the sounds as they go from crisp revelation to familiar sing-alongs. The same is true for that favorite shirt.

The challenge put to Phillip Proyce of Lady White Co. by Canoe Club’s Timothy Grindle was to produce the color of his black Todd Rundgren tour tee - a tee that was given to him by his mom and worn to a dedicated hue. Solving the problem of washing something a thousand times in a brand new shirt took a long time.

lady white co grindle wash tee

Black tees are made from dyed black yarns that are woven together and finally cut and assembled. If they’re lucky, they get to be silk screened with tour dates and attitude. The cotton yarns are black throughout and that hard gray only comes after years of weathering.

To produce this effect, Phillip Proyce, after months of experimentation, took a fully assembled white tee and used a garment dyeing process called pigment dyeing.

Most pigments are lighter shades, often pastels, but to create the darker look he used a charcoal black dye at around 120 degrees. The dyes rest and set on top of the fabric instead of penetrating to the core of the threads. After dyeing it, he dyed it again - finally realizing the deep gray and tonal complexity around the seams he was aiming for while additionally allowing it to continue fading faithfully with wear and wash. The pigment dyes and binders create a rough hand, reproducing that vintage band tee feel - a color as emotionally charged as layers of guitar magic.

lady white co grindle wash tee inspiration
lady white co grindle wash tee

Pictured are the original inspiration Todd Rundgren vintage tour tee, the Lady White Co. Grindle Wash brand new, and the Grindle Wash after 4 years of wear.