Clothing Design Color Cues: Somber or Bold?


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by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

January 17, 2007


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Clothing designers and style-setters are often divided into two camps: those who embrace black and neutral tones and those whose celebrate color. One could argue one approach is better than the other, but each has its charm. As a budding clothing designer, learn how to cater to both markets.

Fashion Showdown: The Socialite v. The Sophisticate
The highest echelons of fame are large enough for both bold sassiness and muted sophistication. The color-lover market may be best embodied by the indefatigable socialite Paris Hilton, who regularly sports vibrant colors like bright pink, red, and yellow. Then you have sophisticates like Gywneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, who subscribe to a more understated kind of style characterized by soft colors and classic lines. If you want make it big in fashion design, you have to appeal to both.

Color and Fashion School
You'll likely discuss some of these issues in fashion school. You, your clothing design peers, and your professors will consider color and how it affects the entire perspective of a design. You may also learn how trends in color influence clothing design choices. Fashion school will introduce you to different schools of thought about color, such as how to determine when you've crossed the line of good taste, or how to use color to create stunning outfits for any body.

Versatility Breeds Fashion Career Opportunity
But getting back to the original question: Why should young designers on the cusp of their career in fashion care about these two color markets? Obviously, if you can cater to both, you open up many more opportunities for your career in fashion. You can create designs for the monochrome Northeast as well as the color-loving glitterati of Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, and South Beach.

As you begin making strides toward a career in fashion, be sure to study seriously the various uses of color during your time in fashion school. If you're already a color pro, take time to explore your ability to tone down your fashion for those who prefer a more subtle look. It will make you a more diverse, and skilled designer, and that's a good thing for anyone seeking a career in fashion.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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