Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let's Talk About: Color Trends

Once we have a line on what fashion influences will be used for style inspirations, it’s important to turn to color selection. You have probably noticed that nearly every designer and brand shows a color group each season that seems very controlled and carefully edited. A quick look at the Elie Saab illustrations shows examples of this color control. There are times when one color or group seems to be popping up in every line, store and brand. How does that happen? How can a designer find colors that will become popular?

In fashion, color is usually arranged in groups that may have from six to a dozen or more colors. Usually these colors are all related in brilliance, shade from light to dark, and clarity. This means that they will all look great together. When looking at a color group, it is usually possible to find each basic color represented: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. These may not appear clear or bright, but usually they are all present in a color group. This slide of Pantone colors from 2010 shows how each color can be part of a color group.

Color groups also reflect traditional color selections for each season. While it is possible to show new directional color for a season, it is important to provide colors that the customer wants to wear during that season. Most consumers have expectations for each season of the year, and often won’t venture into new color territory until they have seen that color worn and are comfortable with it. Most often, nature influences what the customer wants to wear. Generally spring colors relate to new floral and nature tones. Summer colors can be bleached out or very bright and pure. Fall colors also call on nature with many autumn leaf tones and darker colors. Winter has the darkest colors, but jewel tones are also present for color clarity.

Color trend prediction can be found through major global resources such as “Pantone”, “Premiere Vision”, “Lenzing”, and “TFL”. They evaluate new found color groups and make selections for future trends in apparel, home décor and other industries. Usually color trends can be found about two years in advance. Because this information is costly, the general consumer has to wait until about one or two seasons ahead when that information is no longer ‘new’ to find it cost free.

Probably the first place for us to look for new color trends is to check out a few websites. FashionTrendsetter.com has a great overview each season of the color trends that have been predicted. Pantone is an American color service that originally determined how to label colors so they could be co-ordinate internationally without error. When you do color research, you will often notice that each color has a Pantone reference number. Each major season they predict a color group. Pantone also recommends one strong color each year.

For 2012, the color is Tangerine Tango.

By noticing color when you shop the market and collecting information on color trends, you will start to notice how color comes and goes in fashion as well as styles. Try looking back to colors from a year or two ago. Are these colors still for sale? What price bracket sells which colors? High end apparel often has color choices that are rare at the lower price brackets. Often these colors are expensive to produce, so they never make it to the budget level fashion product. Seeing fashion in person will help you to learn more about color selection, since the computer monitor does distort and betray color information.

Color Trend Resources:
Pantone Fashion color report
Lenzing color trends

This original article on spotting fashion trends is part 4 of a series on fashion design that are posted weekly here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

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