Contemporary clashing: Why brands are adopting a new fearless approach to colour

colour harmony on the catwalk

Colour harmony

Colour is one of the most primitive forms of communication we have. Call it evolved survival instinct, we wordlessly know that a combination of yellow and black equals danger or toxicity – think wasps, leopards or even barricade tape. Similarly hard-wired into our minds is the notion that greens and blues mean healthy ecology and balance, this combination is harmonious and safe.

Traditional colour palette creation and styling puts colour harmonies front and centre. A colour harmony being a classically satisfying balance of hue, lightness and chroma/saturation whether monochromatic or complementary (think tonal blues or a good old red and green pairing). To start with you need the best colour options available to work with, colour system Coloro provides a indepth selection pf 3,500 colours laid out methodically by hue, lightness and chroma/saturation. Once you have the colours, you can start creating! A colour harmony engages the viewer and it creates an inner sense of order.

Catwalk colour harmony

This approach drives commercial appeal, however increasingly brands are looking to be a little more rebellious, stray away from the status quo and ultimately be more individualist in what is a pretty crowded retail environment. Cue disruptive colour.

One of the first designers to use Disruptive Colour in this way is Danish design deity Verner Panton. To Panton colour was more important than form and recent studies back him up, with recent stats from Emerald Insight citing that “up to 90% of impulse judgments about products are based on their colour”.

His main aim was to use colour to transport people to unfamiliar surroundings and light the touch paper of their imaginations, because in his own words “Most people spend their lives living in dreary, beige conformity, mortally afraid of using colours.”

However the disruptive colour or colour clashing route is a tricky road to navigate, done correctly can garner some serious street cred, but done wrongly you could end up looking a little more crazy than crazy cool.

With that in mind, we’ve called out 3 brands who are getting it oh so right:

Sies Marjan

Founded by Dries Van Noten alumni Sander Lak – label Sies Marjan, debuted at NYC fashion week with his AW16 collection.

Discordant pairings of highly saturated tangerine coloured separates met with overtly girly, Parma Violet-hued slip dresses.


Finery is an online womenswear brand with a self declared “unique point of view”. Since their launch in 2014 they’ve been unafraid to play bold chroma, both in their product and directional clashing styling. With a company goal to put the excitement back into shopping and recent ranges including searing sunshine yellows and infused magenta.

Rejina Pyo

Redefining the concept of femininity London based label, Rejina Pyo plays with a fusion of silhouette with courageous colour. Each garment of Pyo’s becomes a canvas for an abstract work of art.



For WGSN subscribers to explore colour further visit : https://www.wgsn.com/content/reports/#/Colour/w


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