10 things you need to know about the unofficial colour of 2017
Words: Max Dylan Lazarus | Images: Rex Features
For those of you in the know, Millennial Pink is the most spoken-about colour of the last few months – an ubiquitous yet imprecise hue that’s both political and apolitical, neutral yet standout, versatile in its use across media, fashion and architecture, yet only appreciated and understood by a certain knowing demographic. For those of you who have never heard of Millennial Pink before – I kid you not, this is legitimately how some people discuss colours. Let’s break it down for easy understanding.
1. It’s not one colour
Over the past few years, pale pink has become more and more prominent. It’s not a single, precise pink such as Plascon would describe, but rather a variety of different gradients. Some are more grapefruit than pink, some have a touch of beige, but all of them certainly fall within the pinker shade of pale spectrum. Now, every light pink is labeled and hashtagged with the name Millennial Pink, showing an utter disregard for colour purists. The point is, we could argue over which hue is the original and best Millennial Pink, but in conversation it kinda describes a vibe, you know?
2. Why Millennial Pink?
The name is an odd one. The word millennial is often used by marketing idiots as a cop-out, highlighting just how little they understand about youth and youth culture. “Hey Pepsi, so we’ve put together this little venn diagram highlighting all the things millennials like, and we think you’ll find that by incorporating social justice and Kardashians into your campaign, you’ll really sell more sodas.” They don’t get it. And they don’t get why this pink colour is popping up everywhere. Look at those wacky millennial kids doing what they love, using pink backgrounds on their Instagram feeds, and never being able to afford their own property. So interesting!
3. It’s the new neutral
Remember beige? Beige is done. Aesthetically it’s entirely shot to pieces – people tried to rebrand it by calling it oatmeal, but we saw right through it. We see you, you crazy colour people. So the real interesting thing about Millennial Pink is how it’s become a go-to neutral colour. There was a period where a pale yellow was ubiquitous, but that age of lemonade-piss-blanket yellow is over. Hello Millennial Pink! Look online, go to your favourite apps, check out Pinterest and Instagram and magazines – it’s all over the place, being super chill, making us totally content.
4. Pink for everyone
The point is – and this is what’s leading to such an overwhelming amount of thinkpieces about a non-specific colour – is that this pink is non-divisive. Historically the colour pink, even these exact pale pinks, were exclusively for Barbies and babies, and if used elsewhere particularly for men, it would be done to be intentionally jarring. Even a few years back when the last craze of Good Charlotte-inspired men-wearing-pink swept over, the shades were lumo pink and fuchsia, painfully screaming at everyone, “HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT I AM WEARING PINK I AM VERY COMFORTABLE ABOUT IT!”. Nowadays, it’s calm and comfortable and gender-free. We’re all here lusting after the same hoodies, tops, jackets, shoes and socks.
5. Who can we thank for this?
In fashion and editorial, Travis Scott has always been comfortable in pinks, while other icons like Tyler the Creator and ASAP Rocky have also graduated to lighter pink hues over the past few years. Locally, Didi Monsta has been rocking the top-to-bottom Millennial Pink as far back as our shoot with him in 2015. That look was way out back then. It just goes to show that those in the know, know.
6. Big on Instagram
It’s possible that you’re only now realising just how ubiquitous this colour is, but do yourself a favour: go onto Instagram and search “Millennial Pink”. When you’re done, go do the same with Pinterest. If you want to understand how important aesthetics are to ‘millennials’, then go and see the breadth of this magical, mystery colour. Fashion, architecture, design, motivational typography, foods, screenshots from films – if it features the colour, people love it. Don’t ask me why, I’m no colourologist, I just do the words here.
7. Political pink
Perhaps it’s reaching a zenith in 2017 because everything is crazy and terrible and Millennial pink is so calming and relaxing. Or maybe it’s calming and relaxing because it’s been used in protests against the crazy terribleness of 2017? Remember the pussy hats from the women’s marches? Millennial Pink. You know what isn’t Trump Orange? Millennial Pink. Really makes you think.
8. How do I wear it?
First things first – get this colour in your wardrobe. Go onto SHOP, filter by the colour pink, and stock up. You know what goes best with Millennial Pink? More Millennial Pink. We’ve got jumpsuits, bomber jackets, skirts, dresses, Palladium boots, not to mention basic scooped tees and Asics sneakers for any guys just trying to dip their toes in this trend. If you’re not ready to layer up in the same colour from head to toe, it also pairs well with khaki and grey.
9. How do I use it?
Listen here trailblazer, this is your time to shine. Get yourself a Millennial Pink phone case, watch strap and peak cap, go take a walk outside and Instagram a picture of the Mount Nelson Hotel or the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban or your salmon-guava smoothie at Flamingo Room in Sandton, then print out screenshots of your favourite pink scenes from the Grand Budapest Hotel and break into the nearest Clicks to steal out the pink tissues from every Twinsaver two-ply rainbow tissue pack. You are zen and chilled and relaxed.
Sometimes there are only nine things you can possibly need to know about a colour. At a stretch. Sorry to disappoint. I’m a millennial and I don’t follow the rules.