In a time of isolation that seems like a never-ending story filled with anxiety and uncertainty, breaking everyday routines and finding pure shots of joy has never been so important.
Given such context, the role of fashion as an industry has been put in jeopardy and sometimes questioned. From a consumer perspective, Fashion is expected to be purpose-driven and environmentally-conscious, but it still represents a way-out of the anxiogene context we are experiencing.
Indeed, online daily mentions and users’ constant obsession with sharing their daily fashion routine and new items they have shopped have not disappeared with the pandemic, and it is now turning into an avalanche of mentions of colorful and bold pieces, aesthetics and styles. This increase revealed new insights into consumer expectations and fashion preferences, directly related to the usage of colors.
Time to introduce this three-part series, Linkfluence’s “Colors in the Fashion Industry”, which will help you explore what’s behind these color preferences: color as an ode to joy and daily happiness, color as pure shot of emotions bringing together personal and cultural references, and color as a powerful creative tool to immersive an audience into a unique universe. Let’s start with joy and happiness!
Color blocking: energizing your mind, boosting your mood & positivity
Since the beginning of the pandemic, colors have often played a role in daily users' routine to face home office routine and monotony. Thousands of social media users took part in the #instarainbowchallenge (12K posts on Instagram) aiming to colorize everyday routines through a specific color assigned for one day. While the Instagram challenge only lasted for a week, recent fashion publications enhanced that colors are essential to consumer preferences. With users becoming more and more daring when it comes to fashion combinaisons and daily outfits, the trend is accelerating.
With a new year kicking off, color-related hashtags and emojis enjoyed steady increases. Total look celebrating #colorblocking aesthetics (+18% increase of mentions the last 6 months) and #colourfuloutfit (+32%) gained in popularity. These colorful garments displaying vivid, bright colors often celebrating aesthetics and style from the past (70’s, 80’s and 90’s vibes) give people an instant sense of hope, uplift in mood, and a boost of confidence.
Netizens sharing with confidence their colorful outfit(s) of the day,
#colorblocking mode ON
As psychologist, image and color consultancy expert Domingo Delgado explained for Vogue:
“Using color ‘without fear’ and giving free rein to the imagination in how we dress is the vehicle to recreate positive emotional states that we are so longing to live to break monotony and gain vitality”.
Online, this shot of vitality and energy is coupled with “start/end of the week celebrations”. A color blocking outfit is a weekly statement. The art of dressing is viewed as a pure instant of joy. Instead of being randomly chosen, colors helped visualize daily moods, emotions and current aspirations. Posting on Instagram becomes the final -and tangible- stage to this affirmation of identity and beliefs through colorful expressions.
(E)colors, consumer poetic language to share their emotions and identities
Fashion publications associated with color are clearly poetic and in some cases even artistic. The use of emojis in publication’s captions enhances how visual languages associated with strong colors can clearly reflect a state of mind. These captions go a step further into personal and emotional connection to fashion.
When associated with colorful outfits, the cloud of emojis can be very eclectic - enhancing how color is linked with personal and cultural preferences as well as web culture. For instance with consumers, a color is never just pink or red or purple… It’s more “sunryse 🌻” or “vibrant 🍒” or even “tonic 🍊”.
#Colourfuloutfit associated hashtags and Instagram publications stressing out how netizens associate emotion, vitality and self expressions with bold and colorful pieces
This poetic language underlines how color is more and more rooted into consumers’ daily life. Picking a specific color, curating one’s colorful outfit, and exhibiting one’s personal meaning online is closely linked with a current theme in fashion that shifts between granularity and “Instagram-ability”.
For global consumer brands, few have succeeded in meeting these trends. An example is with Bottega Veneta and the brand’s colorful leather bags. The brand registered an impressive +30% of mentions in the recent year (among digital highly connected female audience in the West). Hundreds of consumers appreciated Bottega Veneta's instagramable color palette, stressing out their desire for strong colorful pieces to energize their silhouette and brighten their Instagram feed.
On the ready-to-wear side, the Danish brand Ganni visible online through the hahstag #GanniGirls embraced the current holistic obsession for colors. As shared on their website, the fashion house empowers women through their positive state of mind “what we do is all about making women feel confident. #GANNIGirls is a state of mind more than anything, a form of self-expression - it’s #GANNIGirls plural - everyone is welcome”.
Their colorful silhouettes with audacious and original twists (schunky fabrics, bright color combos, color blocking pieces and exuberant patterns) are a hit among a young highly connected audience in need for energizing outfits. This is seen clearly by the 33% increase of their hashtag on Instagram (in the last 6 months). New comers are willing to join this joyful community, and it’s not going to stop.
When zooming on the publications, Ganni Girls poses are daring. A sort of simple and genuine feeling of happiness is clearly appearing on their pictures stressing out the solar and (highly) communicative joyful power of the brand.
#GANNIGirls posts on Instagram, a shot of joy and genuine happiness
On the Couture side, the adoption of color as a vehicle for daily joy, genuine moments of happiness and motivation is also on the rise and particularly trending when it comes to online users' reception. Versace's recent color blocking challenge on Instagram, for example, unveiled users’ creativity, in love with the energetic and hopeful color statement. Hundreds of publications have already reposted color blocking silhouettes and details in line with the newly launched Medusa Bags.
One step further, Paris Haute Couture recently impressed with strong colorful collections, odes to joy, open mindedness and tolerance. As an example, Charles de Vilmorin with his colorful silhouettes recalling to Niki de Saint Phalle creatures, shared his creative vision: unfiltered, daring, exploding gender conception. A fashion statement as a pure shot of energy, a motivational message overcoming traditional body conception, an instantaneous pleasure for the eyes but also for the heart.
Charles de Vilmorin Haute Couture SS 2021 shown at Paris Haute Couture Week in January 2021
On the road to individualization and exuberance
Might them act as a mood-energizer or stand as a poetic way to share emotions and affirm identities, colors are now more than just a decorative illustration for social media users: they are making a real difference in their everyday lives.
After a year of pandemic, color is now critical not only to fashionistas, but to a wider range of consumers that are now daring to share their colorful and bold outfits, making the phenomenon a trend on the rise.
It is now time for Fashion brands to understand and grasp this “color-as-a-statement” phenomenon, and get the opportunity behind that. This self-affirmation through color-sharing is highly related to the ”instagramability” of that type of content, and it should inspire most of their content ideation when intending to engage consumers on social media platforms.
If exuberance is the way, colors do take another crucial role for consumers when it comes to bringing together personal and cultural references, going beyond an individualized affirmation.
This, we’ll analyze in the Part 2 of our series on “Colors in the Fashion Industry”... Stay tuned!