“Blue is the only colour which maintains its own character in all its tones... it will always stay blue;” Raoul Dufy, French Fauvist Painter, 1877-1953
We are drawn to blue. We can’t help but include it in nearly every collection we create. It’s the colour that suits the most people, which is why it’s no wonder blue styles are our best-sellers. But blue is a complex and contradictory colour and the different shades really do have different interpretations and effects on people. It can be tricky to get the shade right.
World-renowned designers, Stefan Sagmeister & Jessica Walsh researched what beauty is and the many ways that it impacts our lives. Their research showed that in surveys, participants consistently choose blue as their favourite colour and more specifically ‘Light blue’. (Sagmeister & Walsh p.120). Light Blue is nature’s colour; the most prominent colour on the planet. The colour of the sea and sky. Light Blue extends to our vision of heaven, promoting the idea of peace, serenity, spirituality, and infinity.
Pantones’ colour of the year in 2021 was Dusk Blue. Was that to calm us all down in our year (which became years) of turmoil? Possibly! A true light blue is calming and reassuring and maybe this is why ‘Baby Blue’ is thought to be gentle enough to bestow upon baby boys, while pink is favoured for baby girls in many western countries. Interestingly in Belgium it is pink for baby boys and blue for girls. Who knew? Light Blue is also the colour associated with the throat chakra. This chakra is connected to communication and honesty. Hearing and speaking a truth.
Light blue can be a happy and uplifting colour also. A gorgeous sunny day with blue skies can lift one’s spirits and signify optimism.
While blue is such a dominant colour in our natural world; the sea, sky and flowers, it is rarely found in fruits and vegetables. (Apart from blueberries and some plums). In fact, blue in the plant world often signifies poison and is a warning.
The United Nations flag is completely light blue in colour with the white olive tree branches and map of the world in white. The blue representing peace. Over half of the world’s flags contain some shade of blue, but more use bright and dark blue shades which convey trust and authority rather than lighter shades.
Bright blue is a colour of cleanliness. Think of all the cleaning products and washing powders packaged in bright blue. Bright blue is more tangible in nature than light blue. Inland waters and the ocean. This is the link to cleanliness and sterility. In Australia hospital gloves and scrubs are bright blue. Even the disposable bed mats are and surgical masks we have all become so acquainted with are also bright blue. It’s a harder shade of blue to use in fashion though, often looking flashy and cheap.
Dark blue is the colour of authority and power. Many corporations use dark blue in their logos. Facebook, Dell, Ford, IBM, Oral-B, Visa. It is thought to invoke feelings of intelligence, trust and dignity. Dark blue suits are popular as corporate attire but a harder sell in fashion. There is a certain sombreness associated with navy blue although it does trend from time to time.
One of the most puzzling things about blue is its association with sadness and depression. It is thought to have originated in 17th century England when the term ‘Blue Devils’ was used to describe the intense visual hallucinations that can accompany severe alcohol withdrawal. Over time it was shortened to ‘The Blues” and referred to any state of depression or sadness.
Shades of blue are described as ‘shallow’ or ‘deep’ in China and ‘Young’ or ‘Old’ in Indonesia where we manufacture. All our prints are done by hand and hung outside to dry. We must be very careful when this process happens as at different times of the year the blues can really vary in intensity and appear very different. The sunny days of the dry season produce the brightest shades with the rainy season blues being more muted and greyer. Both lovely, but we aim for consistency! Colour is such an important part of our world. It is fascinating why different colours invoke such strong and unique responses, shaped by history, culture, and our own unique experiences. We love blue with all the shades and complexities, and it really is the colour that suits almost every complexion. This is why we come back to it every season, just playing with the shades, hues, tones and intensities. Its our favourite colour too!
Beauty by Sagmeister and Walsh 2018