It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of millennial pink. For the past few years, we haven’t been able to get away from it, whether it be on our Instagram feeds, or in our favourite stores. It will forever be remembered as the shade of social media movements that showed impeccable restaurant interiors and impossibly perfect landscapes (yes, we’re looking at you, Tumblr).
A lot of big brands capitalised on the colour to sell products (take cult beauty brand Glossier, for example) and not long after this, and it started to become evident that it had almost reached its fever pitch. It may soon be passé, but what are the origins of this seemingly perfect colour?
2016’s colour of the year
Obviously, this pastel hue has been around since the beginning of time but, arguably, it wasn’t until 2013 that it gained momentum thanks to Wes Anderson’s films that all seemed to lure us in with their airbrush filter. Cultural icons such as Kanye and Drake soon started to embrace the colour, showing everyone that it wasn’t just for girls. The avant-garde fashion brand Comme des Garçons even designed coats in a millennial pink floral tapestry that Marie Antoinette herself would be envious of. Finally, in 2016, a year after Apple released their “bros” gold iPhone, Pantone named millennial pink their ‘Colour of the Year’.
Why is it so appealing?
Colour psychologists have explained how colours like millennial pink make us feel safe. It’s a non-offensive, gender-neutral colour that, in our current social and political climate, has a calming and nurturing effect that we can feel on a subliminal level. GQ Senior Fashion Editor and Grooming Director, Garrett Munce, said “I think people latched on to it because it signifies an embrace of modernity. The colour has become synonymous with an idea of gender fluidity, a kind of post-gender colour that is feminine and masculine at the same time – or sometimes neither. It’s become a sort of updated neutral.”
While that may be true, Munce also believes that the colour might be a little overdone, especially for companies that are explicitly trying to target the millennial generation. The public still adores it, but it’s time for it to move from inspired to insipid, with other colours taking its place.
It’s time to make room for Gen Z yellow
The name ‘Gen Z’ has been up for debate for some time but since millennials are typically defined as being born between the years 1982 to 2004, Gen Z should cover 2005 onward. Regardless, they’re the upcoming generation of tastemakers. Man Repellercoined the term Gen Z yellow over the summer, and they did so with some robust analysis. Millennial pink, writes Haley Nahman, has become too “ubiquitous” and “predictable” whereas Gen Z yellow (which traverses several shades from buttercream to melted butter) is “a bright, sobering respite from the barrage of over-saccharine bubblegum.”
Yellow is bright, happy, warm, cheerful. One of the earliest propagators of millennial pink, photographer Petra Collins, has switched to a shade of yellow in her shoots. (Something to note in particular is the “Fetish” music video she directed for Selena Gomez.) Yellow was the shade of the runways in spring/summer 17, too. It seems the natural progression from the pink we’ve all come to know and love, but how long is it before we overindulge to the point that it becomes sickly sweet?
Now that the colour has started to hit the high streets, you can get your fair share of Gen Z yellow fashion over at Ashleigh Plus Size.