There’s no denying that colours come and go in trends. Military green when nations quarrel, pastels when we long for innocence.

And it’s often the fashion industry that responds to the world’s mood first. Even if you don’t know your Gucci from your Gap, the colour of the season will reach you eventually.

What is this season’s smash-hit hue? A kind of dusty pink, somewhere between ashes of roses and salmon, which is now known as ”Millennial Pink”.

It first came to attention last year, when actress Emma Watson graced the front cover of Vogue. The backdrop was this kind of half-dirty, grown-up pink. Fashionistas couldn’t get enough of this new colour. One comment on social media said it all: ”Everyone will paint their bedrooms this colour now.”

However, this pink became bigger than just interior decoration.

The cute colour quickly went from popular to political. Timing was everything, because Watson had just given an emotional speech at the UN about women’s rights. But in a world where feminists are branded as man-hating bra-burners, the petite, feminine Watson didn’t fit the stereotype. That’s because Watson and many young female celebrities are comfortable being both feminine and outspoken.

Some call this Third Wave Feminism. In other words, modern women can be smokin’ hot and speak up against injustice. Thus Watson’s leap from the UN to Vogue gave birth to ”Millennial Pink,” which became the symbolic colour of young feminists.

Advertisers jumped on the bandwagon, of course, as did product developers although many are incorrectly using infantile bubble-gum pink, which misses the point: Millennial Pink is not childish, it’s mature, like a faded silk sari.

The world only had to wait one year for the ultimate nod of approval: the Ikea catalogue. This year the cover showed a Millennial Pink room.

But will everyone who heads to the paint shop understand its provenance or meaning?

Creative design from the South

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