Color of the Year 2017 . . . and the winner is . . .


Green. Green is the winner for Spring 2017. And,  to be specific, the green of 2017 is officially called  “Greenery” aka Pantone 15-0343 – the color of the year.

From paint chips and cookie packaging to the fashion runway, either full blown or hints of it here and there, the color of the year colors more than 75 different industries. And the color is decided by a committee.

Oh my goodness – yes, a committee.

I’m here to tell you that a group of mere humans and not the gods of the fashion universe pick the colors –  2 YEARS AHEAD OF WHEN THEY WANT US TO KNOW.

 Who keeps this stuff under wraps?

. . . well that’s the point . . . it’s not under wraps. The word is actually out two years ahead and the color coordination begins around the globe.

Let’s go back two seasons to Spring 2015. That’s when the “experts” decided that all consumers worldwide would be into “Greenery.” Experts? Who are these people? Who decides what colors we love.

I was curious as to how this actually happened and to my surprise it’s actually no surprise.

Is Forever 21 really on the same page as Versace? How does West Elm and ABC Home and Carpet seem to have a similar vibe at different price points . . .

Year after year, season after season, the drill is the same. Industry experts organized by The Color Association of the United States, CAUS, gather and in tow bring their inspirations . . . toting anything from a visual idea and sunset photos to actual palm fronts from an exotic location or pebbles gathered from a stream located a short two day trek from Kathmandu. They gather ponder and collaborate until a consensus is reached. And from all indications, it is a fairly easy process.

Then CAUS hands the “industry” the color palate and pre-production begins around the globe and with gusto. Dominating industries from fashion and textiles to paints and home furnishings and everything in between start to produce the elements – fabrics, yarns, dyes etc. that will beget the trends of the season with unity and structure.

And the simple reason this is necessary … mass production. The color of the year and seasons enable producers from around the globe the ability to produce en masse and deliver.

With runway shows and catalog shoots coordinated months and evens years ahead, isn’t it fascinating that THE industry dominated by creative, free-thinkers seem to generally align on signature pieces that pop on a couch upholstered from the same palate and hues, literally dot the landscape from packaging and footwear to jewelry and lamp shades.

The Color Association of the United States, CAUS has selected the color of the year for almost a century and began this process in 1915. . Their primary goal was to come up with a cohesive color palate that manufacturers could coordinate around to produces products for the industry, mainly fashion at that time.  The ultimate goal was to increase manufacturing abilities that enabled mass production of textiles and other materials to supply the growing industry of the department store culture. After more than 100 years, the CAUS forecasts the color trends that industries from advertising and marketing to automotive, beauty and health use to entice consumers season to season and year to year.

“Founded in 1915, The Color Association of The United States creates and delivers global color intelligence across industries.”

 So these “industry” experts just come together and “voila, viva le pantone!” Yeah. Pretty much.

The Pantone Color Institute is led by Leatrice Eiesman, author of more than nine books and countless articles on color. She is definitely not “off color.” She and her compadres develop brand strategy around color. Could she have been the inspiration for Chicago’s 1970’s hit, “Color My World”? Perhaps . . . but think more along the lines of continuity . . . the yellow used in Minon’s  (no accident). How ‘bout the iconic blue of Tiffany’s? That’s called 1837 Blue and was standardized for the retail giant in 2001 by the team at Pantone. Hey, Tiffany even has a copyright on the color.

I suggest checking out Pantone’s website. It is a curious world of color and history. The Pantone team even suggests the color of the day. For real. And, you can see how deep and wide the subject of color can be. And, it’s just another peek into the backend of the world of fashion and style. You know, literally, colorful.

So back to Greenery 15 – 0343. Personally, I love this color. It’s fresh and lively. It reminds me of spring and tea. A garden. It even has a retro vibe.  As I head out to make orders for Spring delivery, I’ll be much more hyper aware of green here there and everywhere.