Tie dye is no longer a vintage style. The colorful print is making a major comeback, and it's all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. DIY tie dye projects don't just give you a way to recycle old clothes, they also provide a craft project to stave off quarantine boredom.

Those aren't the only reasons people are reaching for the dye, though. Many people are finding the act of tie dyeing therapeutic. "Human beings have this need for touch, and during COVID times it has been a no-touch zone, with very little tactility," Preeti Gopinath, director of the master of fine arts program in textiles and associate professor at Parsons School of Design told CNN. "The whole haptic (the perception of touch) sensibility of working with fabrics meets a very primal human need, and during this time of crisis you look for things that give you comfort."

While tie dye has seen a slow revival in the past couple years, the pandemic has caused the trend to surge. Part of the reason it's seeing such a huge comeback is because, as textile designer and author of the book Tie-Dye Shabd Simon-Alexander said, the style often sees a boost in popularity in politically turbulent times. "We associate tie-dye with the 1960s, when it took off in a time when people were trying to find a sense of self outside of establishment, and really wanting to express themselves in what they are wearing," she said. "They wanted to wear handmade things, as things in this country became more mass-produced and cookie cutter."

Tie dye gives people 'a sense of belonging'

To many, tie-dye can feel like a form of protest. The fashion can also give people a sense of community in this time of social distancing. Dawnn Karen, the founder of the Fashion Psychology Institute, explained to O, the Oprah Magazine that when people sport tie dye it helps them feel like "members of a tribe." Said Karen, "If we're wearing the same thing that we all see on social media, we're all part of the same accord. We have a sense of belonging."

At the same time, tie dye allows people to express their individuality, as no two tie dye projects turn out the same. Behavioral psychologist Carolyn Mair explained that tie dye helps people "blend in and yet stand out simultaneously."

For those who were around in the 60s and 70s, tie dye is also nostalgic. "We draw security and comfort from the past," said psychology professor and author of Nostalgia, a Psychological Resource Clay Routledge. He added, "Nostalgia doesn't just make people feel happier. It makes them feel more connected, energized, and motivated."