Crack the buying code: Is pink the new black?

As the fashion cycle becomes shorter, and major retailers shift from design-led to buying-led structures, knowing the stock and trends to invest in is crucial.

 Here at WGSN, we give buyers data-driven content in line with their workflow to support decision-making on the trends to invest, so they can identify opportunities across future seasons.

 So what’s the secret to a successful buying season? We’re taking you behind the scenes at WGSN, as our experts reveal how they identify the drivers and divers that make or break a season.

From the runway to retail, store design to social media feeds, it seems that nothing has been untouched by the cult-like power of millennial pink. 

A colour that transcends outdated, gender stereotypes, this soft hue has become a global talking point.

For the second installment in our Crack the Buying Code series, we spoke to our Colour Director Jane Monnington Boddy on the long reign of millennial pink, and where it’s headed next.


Victor Li, S/S 2019

When did pink become so ubiquitous?

Uptick began in 2014, driven by brands like Glossier and Mansur Gavriel, as well as ‘Rose Quartz’ pushed as Pantone’s Colour of the Year. That’s when WGSN forecasted pink as a key colour for S/S 16, and it began to spring up across different categories.  

“We were facing a new cultural climate and a rebranding of feminism” says Boddy. “The world was no longer constrained by gender, sexuality or ethnicity, and the colour pink embodied this cultural shift”.


Why did we fall for pink?

Pink may make for Instagram-friendly packaging and store design, but the colour became the powerful poster child for a gender fluid generation.

“It’s a hue that speaks of inclusivity, rather than a world separated between girls and boys,” says Boddy. Driven by youth culture, Boddy credits the millennial cohort as “the first to adopt the hue and lead the shift in attitude”, which gave the shade its moniker.

MSGM, Sies Marjan, Drome


Is pink the new black?

Ultimately, soft pink has reached a new neutral status. “Now a core colour, the shade gets updates, as opposed to being swapped out entirely”  says Boddy.

Its popularity is now sustained by wider trends, with the rise of maximalism propelling it along nicely.  “It’s also a colour that flatters”, says Boddy, with the “soft and baked tones made it a go-to choice for all skin tones”.


What’s next for millennial pink?

“Soft pink made everyone love colour, and turned it into a talking point,” says Boddy. And while its popularity endures, we’re seeing softer tones trade out for emerging brights. So, what’s next? For more on the millennial pink update, download our new, exclusive Buyers report.

Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.