Ever wondered who decides what colours are ‘In’ each season?
Sometimes the colours are universal colours that can be worn by every woman. Sometimes they only suit those with that Season’s colouring so that once a year you can buy clothes in your favourite colours. Occasionally the ‘In’ colour is one that most women hate or cannot wear. Despite the best efforts of fashion writers and retailers, those colours don’t sell even at heavily discounted prices.
So who makes these decisions?
The answer is Pantone. They are a Global Colour Authority and have been doing this for 50 years.
Each year Pantone surveys fashion runways to check what colours are popular with designers. From these answers they create a report based on both the colours used and the themes that inspired the designers. Pantone then makes this information available for those involved in fashion, fabrics design, home designs, paint colours, product designs and new colours for digital application.
From Pantone or their licensees, you can buy a Swatch of a single colour for US$10, a Palette Swatch of the 10 new season colours for both men and women for US$99.50 each or a Trends Forecast Report with very detailed information for US$750. Pantone also sells products in the ‘Colour of the Year’ and the coming season’s colours. You can even download the ‘Colour of the Year’ wallpaper for computers and iPhones. For curiosity’s sake, I did it and it’s not very inspiring.
As well as these products they also produce the ‘Pantone Skin Tone Guide’ for beauty, fashion, photography, toy makers and as a baseline for medical use in restorative and plastic surgery and the manufacture of prosthetics.
The Colours of 2013
Each year Pantone names the ‘Colour of the Year’. For 2013 it is Emerald. On their website http://www.pantone.com they describe it as ‘Lively. Radiant. Lush…a colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony’. Now is your chance to convince someone close that they should buy you emerald jewellery because it is the ‘In Colour’. It might work or you can always buy it yourself, justifying your purchase with the same reasoning.
Last year’s colour (if you missed it) was Tangerine Tango – a rich, bright orange. The colour guides are formulated for the northern hemisphere. Their current colours are for Spring 2013. These will be in Australia from September on. The colours are described as ‘dynamic brights with novel neutrals to create a harmonious balance’. (In the world of Colour, creative writing is a must.) The colours that we may see soon in our shops are the Fall 2012 colours.
Creative Colour Names
Occasionally I dream of having the job of ‘Colour Namer’. I could have fun with it. Come to think of it, the current person or people are already doing just that.
Here are some interesting Pantone colour names that may appear this Autumn in Australia. French Roast – Is that roast beef, roast chicken or roast pork? It’s a dark brown so it must be well-done roast beef. Rose Smoke – not sure what sort of fire that comes from. It is a pale pink. Of course in Fall 2012, there was Olympian Blue. You could put ‘Olympian’ in front of any colour. It is a bright blue. Men have the colours ‘Sea Fog’ and ‘Whitecap Grey’. Now Sea Fog I can relate to. It is a mid-grey and I have a photo of that exact colour taken in the Inside Passage off western Canada. Whitecap Grey is a very light, almost white colour.
For Spring 2013 the women’s colours are in the illustration on the left. Second from the top on the right is Tender Shoot. I always pictured tender shoots as light green. I am wrong as it is apparently an olive green. For men, their white/grey colour has now become Tidal Foam. It is definitely much cleaner than the sea foam from our Queensland ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald.
Now you know who decides our fashion colours. Of course designers can use them or go their own way just as you can.
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