It’s the technicolor trend of 2022, but is there more to colorful fashion than meets the eye?
On the third Thursday of every month, Old Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch, London, is steeped in colour, pattern and joy. And we’re not just talking about the treasures that can be found on flea market stalls. Cue the steady gathering of vibrant minds and creative souls – people who love and live in full, bold, bright and wonderful colors.
The march of colorsas it is today, has been led for five years by upcycling fashion designer Florent Bidois, and was inspired by the life and work of artist Sue Kreitzman, who could, reliably, reunited in its Technicolor glory every Thursday at the flea market.
“Sue is the constant inspiration behind the Color Walk. For me, she is the face and I am the arms”, explains Florent. “In December 2016, I organized my first Color Walk as we know it: a gathering monthly for creatives who like to dress up and love color.”I’ve committed to doing it every month since, except for a 16 month hiatus due to Covid. It’s about supporting the market, to express themselves and have fun.
Here you will find a feast for the eyes, a multicolored variety of prints, patterns, ruffles and reflections. Spared, made, savored and celebrated – beneath the kaleidoscopic surface, the Color Walk is a safe space to express yourself as you really are, and Florent shares that he has often spoken of the deep feelings of “belonging” felt by participants. . Here the “Colour Walkers” find their tribe, a group of people who come together to experiment with style and color.
While the Color Walk is a concentrated culmination of self-expression, these days more and more of us are starting to add a bit of buzz into our everyday wardrobes – and if you’re recently walked into a high street clothing store, you may have noticed the prevalence of a certain trend. Dubbed the “dopaminergic band-aid,” bright and bold colors, on-trend prints, color blocking and neon are all the rage in 2022, and retailers are chomping at the bit to fulfill our desire to infuse joy into our lives. After all, after the tough times we’ve been through lately, it only makes sense.
But the idea of boosting our mood with color and fashion is not new. In 2012, a study from the University of Hertfordshire found that when participants wore clothes with symbolic value to them, their confidence increased. And, throughout the timeline, Emperor Charlemagne – born around AD 740, near Liège in modern-day Belgium – wore red shoes at his coronation, as a symbol of his authority.
Color has a huge impact on how we react to the world around us (think of marketing campaigns and what the colors used try to make us feel about their product), but they also do the same with how we relate to ourselves, and what we tell others about who we are. Momtaz Begum-Hossain is a color theorist, author of Hello Rainbow: Finding Happiness in Color, and also a participant of the Color Walk – who was, in her own words, born colorful. Therefore, it is a phenomenon that she knows intimately.
“Each color exudes its own special energy,” Momtaz tells us. “These energies make us feel a certain way, and that’s why color can impact our mood. For example, red is a high-energy color, it makes us feel alert and awake. In contrast, a Soft lavender hue is the opposite, it has much less energy, creating a calming effect.
“Spending time understanding how colors make us feel means we can turn to them when we need their help. So if certain colors make us more confident, we can wear them in situations where we need to strengthen our confidence, or, if we want to relax and de-stress, we can incorporate colors that soothe us.
The study of color, also known as chromatics, has a lot to say about which particular colors can be used for what – with a study, published in the journal Finding and Applying Colors, going so far as to seek to establish how specific colors and patterns might be used in mental health settings to support patients – but, ultimately, our answers are subjective, and while a light blue can soothe one person, another might find it energizing. That said, there are still a few guiding principles to follow on your color discovery journey.
“As part of my work as a color theorist, I created a philosophy of how we can use color to improve our mood and mental well-being,” says Momtaz. “It’s called ‘Hello Hue,’ and it’s about saying ‘hello’ to color and welcoming it into your life, encouraging you to put color first every day. It starts with your condition. of mind and awareness of all the choices you make.
“So the next time you have to make a decision, go for the most colorful option – you may need to buy flowers for a colleague to choose the most colorful bouquet you can find, you want to buy cushions for your bedroom to get out of your comfort zone and opt for a color you wouldn’t normally choose, and in your wardrobe you start experimenting with new color combinations.
“Dopamine dressing” and expressing yourself should of course not just follow a brightly colored trend that is sure to die down by next season. If that sounds tempting, note that it’s not about going out and buying a whole new wardrobe, but rather about being authentically yourself and using clothes and colors to guide your mood and your personal expression. And you don’t have to go “all-in” at once.
Take fashion designer Florent Bidois, for example. Today, he can be seen wearing eye-catching outfits, the kind of thing you could never pull off the rack, but he shares that his journey started with a pair of Topman skinny jeans.
“My first piece of advice would be to start small; an accessory, socks, a detail,” says Florent. “My second would be to seek out your people, surround yourself with like-minded spirits and cheerleaders. Because if you feel comfortable, you will allow yourself to take more risks, and you will become example. Then everything is a ripple effect.
So what do you want to tell the world about yourself? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you want to feel? Playful, creative, sophisticated, sexy, grounded, bold, calm, assertive, fun, joyful, romantic, brave – or that unique combination that makes you who you are? Either way, it’s your sign to come as you are.
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