Updated: May 28, 2020
One of the most frequent things I am asked when people discover I am a Trend Forecaster
is… “What is the colour for next season?” Then they smile, rather sheepishly, as if okay, that is probably a silly thing to ask.
Let me assure you – it definitely is not. It is one of the most bang-on questions you can ask a Forecaster in my line of luxury fashion and design work. I get paid a lot of money to predict colours for international companies wanting to get ahead of the curve, and trust me, I am not alone. One thing I always try to impress upon people though is, it is a lot harder than it appears. I always feel the need to explain that I don’t get out of bed in the morning, gaze out the widow and go: “Oh, I think it is going to be blue today!” - there is an art and a science behind it, not to mention an extreme amount of work.
The profession of forecasting is a mystery to most – not least because of the misuse in modern society of the word trend. Trend forecasting is not about what is happening now (a little clue is in the word forecasting), it is analysing the unseen to envisage the future in order to offer a leading edge, and it stems from in-depth, detailed research and analysis, coupled with the mapping and tracking of various disciplines and interconnected arenas.
Colours, however, are a law unto themselves. Colours speak their own language, they convey emotion in a single statement, they encapsulate a mood with a simple brushstroke. Colours vary in meaning the world over, but have one consistent – they have the ability to change our mindset because they touch our psyche. They can incite passion and the deepest desire, they can calm us down in moments of anxiety, soothe frayed nerves, lift us up, crash us down, take us back to a nostalgic past, or propel us into an unknown future.
One thing is certain though, with the onset of Covid19 and the resulting global meltdown, our colour preferences are set to change.
So, what are the colours of the future? Well, I’m glad you asked!
In brief: Colour will have an increased emotional effect after Covid19, with colour psychology, symbolism and meaning becoming more pronounced. While we will pay homage to Mother Nature as we bow before her force, we will also desire to get back out and show off again, we will look for hope radiance and joy after Covid19, and our preferred palettes will marry these twin desires.
Caution will be paramount and tones with long-term appeal in trans-seasonal colour ways will be the heavy hitters, but there will be moments of radiance and brightness as we seek to embrace joy and freedom again.
Here are a few pointers to keep your eye on.
Reset: Covid 19 forced us to think even more about nature, and our impact. Due to its organic and sustainability connotation, green has been a focal point for countless seasons, and normally it would be reaching a tipping point for us futurists, but due to the unprecedented pandemic and the upending of everything we know on a global scale, it will remain a key colour for the forseeable future. Symbolically speaking of rebirth and renewal, the bolder greens of the past will segue way into nourishing yellow-based and olive-tinted hues with their “from-the-earth” association and combat-ready relation to khaki.
In the current time of physical and mental distress, the colour psychology behind lavender tones has never been more relevant. Gentle and tenacious, revered for its calming, soothing properties, Lavender induces restful sleep and stress-release. Look out for these hues, as in the aftermath of the pandemic we will intrinsically turn to colours that evoke feelings of wellness and restorative balance.
With isolation forcing us into prolonged interaction with the digital realm we will have become used to hyper-digital colours that jump from the screen. Indulgent colourways that are playful and quirky will arise as we look for a sense of fun and frivolity. However, these will not be traditional pinks of the past – unexpected, with a touch of ambiguity for new hues think deep orchid pinks or pink/purple mash-ups.
With its trans-seasonal, gender neutral and climate association, blue will retain prominence. Dependable and trustworthy, it speaks to our emotional state, calling to mind phrases such as “into the blue” - the ability to wander far and wide without restriction. The wide blue yonder will hold its own appeal after lockdown, and the symbolic power of escapism contained within this classic favourite will keep us captive.
Sun-bleached hues that evoke a sense of nostalgia will appear in washed-out vignettes. Reminiscent of 70s surf culture, and its link to absolute freedom - faded polaroids and softened summer sunsets create a yearning for familiarity, and simpler times. In times of extreme distress and unpredictability we reach to the past, holding on to the tested and true in order to anchor and steady ourselves. This time will be no different.
White will be the out-and-out winner (and just for posterity it is actually a non-colour). Associated with purity, lightness and innocence, white is heaven sent, calling to mind cleanliness, sterile environments and safety. White will have buried itself deep into our psyche during the pandemic, and afterwards it will be our preferred shield - the colour of Angels and redemption.
And just as a final word on the subject.
I have not mentioned black as technically it is also a non-colour and secondly, black never goes away. Nothing is ever the “new black”. Fact.