When Pantone introduced Emerald as their Color of the Year for 2013 I was ecstatic. I love this particular shade of green and there just isn't enough apparel made using that color. And if you do find it, it's something undesirable left on the clearance rack. I thought to myself back then, finally we will see designers adding it more prominently to their color palettes and more stores stocking it. I imagined glorious blouses, emerald suede pumps and jewel-toned skinny jeans. Well, here we are, at the tail end of 2013 and I'd still have to search to find anything in emerald green. Specifically Pantone color 17-5641.
So here we are again. 2014 is a breath away and Pantone has announced the latest Color of the Year 'Radiant Orchid' with the usual fanfare and whimsical descriptors.
"Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination"
Umm. Okay. Sure. Since the announcement almost two weeks ago, it's been covered in some way, even on legitimate news outlets like CNN. In their defense, it was under a heading titled "Apparently This Matters". I didn't read it, but I thought the title was apt, because, I'm not sure if it does.
While the colors are beautiful, I just don't think announcing a 'Color of the Year' does anything more than give us something to talk about on a slow news day. Just looking at the past colors of the year, I can honestly say, I don't own anything in any of those colors. Do you? As a matter of fact, the last time I remember a color making a serious impact in fashion was when pink blew up after 9/11. For almost two years, you couldn't walk into a store without seeing it and it was probably the first time in the color's history that men had embraced it. Men were walking around in pink button-downs, polos and t-shirts with no threats to their masculinity. It was great. Until it got annoyingly ubiquitous towards the end.
Am I saying Pantone should stop announcing a Color of the Year. Absolutely not. In some ways it exposes people to the importance of color, if but for a moment. But if you know the production process for apparel, and even home, than you know that color palettes can be chosen up to 2 years in advance. So the likelihood that a Color of the Year will really be a true Color of the Year is pretty miniscule if downright non-existent.
I don't like to break things apart without at least coming up with an alternative. My suggestion would be to make the 'Color of the Year' based on what futurists and trend forecasters predict will be the zeitgeist of the new year. Something like this;
"The world is experiencing another year of a down global economy. However, after years of bemoaning it, for 2014 consumers will embrace saving and thriftiness with even more gusto. Families will shun expensive vacations where parents and kids go their separate ways and embrace staycations to create a tighter bond with the family unit. Therefore, we have chosen 'Radiant Orchid' as 2014s 'Color of the Year' for it symbolizes love, serenity and measuring prosperity with the strength of familial relationships"
I made it all up but, you get what I mean. What do you think? Should Pantone continue announcing the 'Color of the Year', change the purpose or forgo it completely?
Sound off in the comments.