Episode 87: How the colour analysis trend can help to design emotionally durable products




  • Concept of Colour Analysis Trend
  • What is driving the resurgence of Colour Analysis
  • Relevance for Australian retailers
  • Significance of observing and understanding the unfolding legislative landscape


Hello and welcome to episode 87 of the Fashion Unearthed podcast. Today I wanted to talk about something that has popped up on TikTok and I thought it might just be another little signal towards people slowing down a little bit and thinking a little bit more about their purchases. But before I get stuck into that, I wanted to mention that we are fast approaching the end of the year, with four weeks until Christmas, and I'm happy to say I'll be taking some time off as well for that maybe a couple of weeks, maybe going into early January, I'm not sure yet. So if you are wanting to get clear on what sustainability is and how to incorporate more of it into your business so you aren't left behind, you can send me an email at info@belindahumphrey.com, and we can book in a time to have a chat about some of the ways that I can help. 

So today I wanted to talk about something that has popped up on TikTok and a lot of younger people are talking about this particular service which is called colour analysis. Now, this whole concept is not new to me. It was really big in the 80s and 90s. I think there was a book written as well that really brought this concept to the fore, and I remember my mum having her “colours done” in comments Like that was what you said: “I'm going to have my colours done”. And so you would have this session where they held up or draped different colours fabrics sort of over your chest against your face, sort of like what they're doing on TikTok, and at the end, the person would get this little swatch book that they could take with them shopping to match or refer back to when they were considering any purchases. And if you're old enough to think back to that time, it was quite common for people to sew their own clothes or make their own clothes. So there was a lot of investment in terms of time and money on choosing particular colours for your wardrobe. So you wanted to make sure that what you were deciding to make or buy because things were inherently a little bit more expensive compared to what people were earning was the right investment and would serve you for a longer time, so you didn't want to spend all that time making something and then end up wearing it and just feel terrible in it. 

So what is it? Well, essentially it's a whole philosophy based off skin tone and eye colour, and sometimes it considers hair colour, but often hair colour is covered or pulled back when analysing colour against the face, and often hair is discussed, like clothing, as either being flattering or not. So the idea being that some colours will make you look fabulous, making you appear brighter and more awake. I think we can all need those, and some will be universal, in that they aren't terrible but also aren't amazing. And the third category just generally look bad on you, and people often talk about them making you look sick and drab, which obviously no one wants to look like that. 

The way the colours are put into categories is in four seasons, so to speak, so spring, summer, autumn and winter, and then within those, there can be soft and dark options to create three subsections to each season, so such as a soft autumn, a dark autumn and then just the regular autumn, and this then builds it out into 12 colours of seasons. 

Now, the underlying foundation to all of this is the color principles based around three things. So there is hue and temperature or undertone, where some colors have a warmer or cooler slant than others, so it's either a warm or cool color. The next one is value, so in terms of how light or dark it is. So this is where shade of color comes in, whether it's light or dark, whether it's a light or dark color. And the third one is chroma or saturation, so how strong or pure a color is, whether it's bright or muted. 

And to become a color analysis, you have to do some training. You have to be able to train your eye. I know a lot of people on TikTok in the comments will say I can't even tell the difference, I don't know. They all look the same to me, which is kind of the point. So someone is training their eye to look for subtle variations in the contrast between the colors that you're wearing and your natural skin tones and eye color. So it's probably no surprise that the popular filter that people seem to be using isn't giving them much clarity on what colors they are, what season they are. 

So what could the resurgence of this particular service or tool be telling us? What is it? What's driving it? Well, initially it was said that this originally fell out of favor in the 90s due to the rise of fast fashion, presumably because if you bought something that you didn't feel great in, customers could just throw it out and buy something else. So when I see young people on TikTok talking about getting their colors done, I kind of add it to my list of signals that things might suggest a younger generation really wants to put more thought into what they're buying and how it looks and how they feel when they're wearing it. And perhaps this is driven by price and them not spending as much on clothing. Perhaps it seemingly to emphasize their natural qualities in individual nature. But I also think it could be telling us that people are starting to look beyond trend cycles of color and focus instead on how to buy product they love for longer, and color is a huge part of that.

 And so why does this matter to fashion businesses? Well, the concept of durability is often discussed when talking about sustainable fashion, and the performance of an item is usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, emotional durability is a huge part of slowing down the churn of trends too. Some might argue that unsustainability is a crisis of behavior, not just energy and materials. So being able to consider how color plays a part in emotional durability will enable businesses to better respond to shifts in how much consumers are shopping and the things they are now considering when shopping. It's always put on the customer to buy less and buy better, and you could argue that the interest in color analysis is driven by customers trying to figure out exactly how to do that. 

So I'd love to hear from you if you are looking into color analysis, if you consider this when you're putting your ranges together, if you've noticed a shift in colors changing or things that your colors, that your customer is preferring, you can DM me on Instagram @belindahumphrey_, or email me at info@belindahumphrey.com, which brings us to the end of today's episode. Like I said, if you are looking to implement more sustainable practices within your business and you want to figure out how to actually do that, then I'd love to jump on a call with you and talk about your business and the ways that I can help you do exactly that. You can email me again info@belindahumphrey.com and we can set up a time to chat. As always, you'll find the show notes and any links for today's episode on the website Belinda Humphreycom in the podcast section. Thanks so much for listening. See you next time. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure that information is accurate at the time of recording, much like the fashion industry itself, this information may change. 


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