It was in 2600 BC when earliest written records of the use of dyestuffs were found in China. The preparation and application of dyestuffs is one of the oldest forms of human activities. Evidences of which were found by Excavation at archeological sites where ancient fabrics were unearthed. There is also mention of it in the Bible and other works of classical antiquity.
The real breakthroughs in the history of dyes came in 1856 when a teenager who was experimenting at his makeshift laboratory in home made a certain discovery that acted as a sort of launching pad for the modern chemicals industry.
William Perkin an 18-year-old student was working on chemical synthesis of natural products. In a classic case of serendipity, the young William Perkin chanced upon his now famous 'Aniline Mauve' dye while he was attempting to synthesize quinine, the only cure for malaria. Perkin named his color Mauveine, after the French name of non-fast color which was made of natural dyes. So "Mauve" (a basic dye) was the first synthetic dye stuff. Mauve was a derivative of coal tar. It was the first mass-produced dye, that was commercially available and the idea was born that a color could be made in the factory. It was indeed a revolution.