It’s everywhere. Pink, but not just pink; ‘millennial pink’. But what does that actually mean, and how can a colour be representative of a generation?
Perhaps the mere beginnings of the colour began with the 2014 Wes Anderson movie, Grand Budapest Hotel. Since then, the embodiment of retro-kitsch has become part of the fashion industry, walking hand in hand down the high-street.
Maybe it was the rise of the ‘rose-gold’ iPhone in 2015? Does that make it truly millennial? Colours linking with objects that can be seen as a foundation of generation Z.
What we don’t really need to know is where it started. What we want to know is why does everyone care so much about a dull colour that is taking over the world one millennial at a time?
GQ named it the colour of spring, The Guardian called it the 'colour of now' and it even made its way onto Woman's Hour. It's almost disheartening that we are so obsessed with a colour that is halfway between salmon and Barbie.
The 2017 fashion colour report stated that “Dogwood” was the colour of the year. Look at the fashion industry itself. Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Céline, Acne and Balenciaga are dying to have this colour part of their wardrobe, but why?
Gucci resort 2016 was covered in about as much pink as you could ever want. Running hand in hand with each other, Gucci is the new ‘it’ brand, so surely this millennial pink is a perfect match for the designer. Falling back to the kitsch repertoire that Grand Budapest gave us, is it a shade that makes us believe that we are more ‘ahead’ other others?
The Ringer reported that: “Brands like Acne Studios, Glossier, Kinfolk, and Thinx incorporated it in their shopping bags, websites, magazine covers, and ad campaigns.” The Cut commented in a follow-up piece, “By the time everyone started calling it Millennial Pink in the summer of 2016, the colour has mutated and expanded.”
Seeping its way into menswear the colour pink isn’t something that screams, man. The evidence can be seen in the faded blossom on Common Projects trainers and splattered throughout Acne’s men’s collections and packaging.
Incorporated into the pop culture, pink has made its way onto album covers. Drake's single Hotline Bling from 2015 was pink, recently debut artwork for Harry Styles album pictured said artist bathing in a pink bathtub.
But why is it named Millennial, and what does it have in relation to the zeitgeist? It comes down to an era where trans models walk the runway, where the scape of the fashion world is changing, and where pink is no longer a women’s colour, but a colour for everyone. Who better to target a marketing scheme at than the generation that is willing to take advantage of anything for the sake of their generations name.
A study of the colour was shared in The New York Times in October 1982. Clinical psychologist Paul E. Boccumini stated that pink rooms calmed down children, most children in the experiment calmed down when they were placed in an 8-foot by 4-goot call painted pink. Some doctors have named this colour ‘passive pink’ because of the nature it can have over calming people.
So, is it a tool to calm down the generation down?
It isn’t just the fashion industry that is dipping their toes, or whole bodies into the trend. But architects and interior designers are caught by the super power that Millennial pink has.
During Milan design week, the colour became the craze through Instagram. Marc Ange’s ‘Le Refuge’ became the most Instagrammed installation. Why was this? Because it was pink, but perhaps when we look back at the research that has been done, it was claiming and place to retreat? To take refuge. But one of the main reasons for the colours popularity is that is it free from girly-girl associations and appeals to men as well as women.
But is this a very impressive marketing tool that we have been duped by? With the likes of restaurants such as Sketch London making it onto almost every Instagram, it’s hard to see why we truly are obsessed with a colour.
It’s a significant emblem of an age which is obsessed with gender, and gender politics. How can you truly be ‘woke’ unless you are wearing a colour that is a symbol of your generation.