Colour And Fashion

  • by Scarlet Destiny Admin

Fashion is one of the most important visual phenomena of our time and in the past year, we’ve gone through many aspects of it in detail on this blog.

Today, we’re revisiting the concept of colour in fashion with a new twist: why this plays such a major role in the industry. From its appearance, to contrasts and trends, colour can be associated with emotions and intentions as well as play an important role in our buying behaviour.

The importance of colour on clothing

The appearance, or optical image, of clothing, is described by four optical characteristics: colour, decoration (such as embellishments or embroideries), material and shape (ie. silhouette).

Colour is often the first thing you notice about someone. Wearing a colour you love, can calm your nerves or lift your mood. Meaning you can literally boost your mood and/or self-confidence with colour, as well as with the clothes themselves. This is often referred to as dopamine dressing.

In today's visual culture, colour combined with the right materials, shapes and textures is the key to making a product successful, as this can either make a product look cheap or chic. When we wear a certain colour, the latter can be natural or synthetic, masculine or feminine, reliable or frivolous, timeless or trendy.

The appearance of colour

The appearance of colour is important as it offers an emotional appeal: colours can evoke different emotions and behaviours in different people and  convey a message. The meaning and effect of this on people vary and are very personal, but there are similarities in the perception of colour.

For example, we find black sophisticated and elegant, red romantic is bold and fiery and dark blue businesslike. The subjective meaning we attach to the various colours depends a lot on the context and it is known as colour symbolism: With red, for instance, we think of love and passion, but the colour is also associated with danger and aggression.


Colour contrast

Colour can be essential when creating a contrast and / or a combination. Some combinations make colours more vivid and intense, while others neutralise each other.
For instance, a colour-to-colour contrast between colours that are not mixed with black or white can make a striking impact, so can a cool and warm contrast or a tone on tone one. These techniques, which are the basics of the colour wheel,  can be essential when creating a fashion collection that makes a statement and plays an important role in all catwalks.

Colour trends and trend colours

Colour trends and trend colours are part of the fashion industry’s ever-changing landscape. 

Leading colour experts and institutes such as Pantone and Coloro are all dedicated exclusively to colour advice and predictions. For instance, the Pantone Color Institute annually names a colour of the year and predicts the popular colours set to be used by designers at leading fashion weeks. They also analyse fashion collections shown by designers and determine what the colour palette will look like in the future.

Generally, colour trends are dictated by the catwalk.  Commercial brands and retailers look to established designer brands  for inspiration to translate for their fashion consumers.

Colour in marketing and retail

Colours can also influence consumer purchasing habits, in fact, they are always used strategically in advertising campaigns and promotion, store design and visual merchandising. From shop windows to bags, colour allows consumers to not only shop the item, but immerse themselves in the brand's vision”.

Colour plays a really important role in our lives, and the way we adorn our bodies, subconsciously communicates to the world, who we are and what we stand for. If you’re interested in this topic and want to learn more about how colour is perceived by different cultures and how it affects us on  emotional, physical, mental and spiritual levels please refer  to our blog post ‘How does the colour of our clothes affect our moods’.


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