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The answer isn’t very clear. What IS clear is that it is definitely a big collaboration.

Pantone COY 2013


This quote from the film “The Devil Wears Prada” pretty much sums up where fashion and color trends come from: “You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select, I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent, wasn’t it, who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs, and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”

But what exactly does that mean in the paint business? Perhaps about as much as it meant when you picked out the lumpy blue sweater. But perhaps it’s just the same. There are definitely trends in the paint business too. And of course we get those trends from fashion as well.

Pantone COY 2014

When Pantone picks its color of the year, every year, they take surveys and send out questionnaires to poll graphic, industrial, fashion, and other designers around the world, as well as manufacturers and retailers, asking what colors they plan to use in coming seasons. Pantone and a group of representatives from different countries’ color standards groups then have a “secret meeting” to make sense of their picks. Then based on the results of those polls and surveys, sales of color swatches and all of the expert opinions present in the meeting, they narrow it down to one.

Since products made in their decided color of the year have already likely been down the runway, and pushed down production lines, it’s hard to say what exact role Pantone plays in the influence of color trends. But given their reputation and insider access, it certainly shows insight!

However they do it, it’s been going on for a very long time… and I for one am looking forward to finding out what the color is for 2015!

All in all, trends in color are circular in motion, not always starting in the same place. And as trends go, they usually tend to come back around somehow too. Perhaps in a different tint, tone, or shade, but come back around they do!



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