Also known under the pseudonyms of Scandi Pink or Tumblr pink, you have certainly witnessed millennial pink even if you haven’t registered the term before; possibly on a fluffy slider, a carpet or a toaster, and nearly certainly on come-back caps. This is the pink that won’t go away! Its preform exuded style when debuted on the shopping bags of cool-kid brand Acne back in 2007. 10 years later not a lot has changed.
What makes Millennial Pink? Is it its Instagram appeal? Is it how perfect it goes with total tonal dressing (see icon Gigi Hadid’s latest all pink suit)? Or is it its genderless connotations? We think it’s the latter. It is the pink that has lost its girly girl image, a pink that’s now nearing androgynous. This pastel shade may have lost some of its blue tint in an edge towards nude, but it has only gained in its appeal. Eiseman from Pantone calls it a “nuanced neutral. It has that staying power.”
The Generation Y that has become insatiably hooked on this calming tone are from the era that were brought up on only sickly connotations of pink. For those whose baby clothes were still cast in a binary blue or pink, pink was, as a child, associated with Barbie and as tweens, the excess of Paris Hilton’s lifestyle. Now that yellow has become the baby grow colour of choice, a lot has changed. The stigma that we all remember existing meant that not too long ago it was rare to see a boy or a man in pink, at a fear it suggested anything about their masculinity or even sexuality. This isn’t the case today, as pink rises the ranks in clothing popularity across the board.
“Pink hasn’t traditionally worked across genders, but it fits right in there with the man-bun and the man-bag, where we’re seeing this fluidity like never before.”
Debbie Millman, host of design matters.
In November 2014, among a number of trend forecasting agencies working two years in advanced, the Colour Marketing Group (a worldwide non-profit colour-forecasting group, of which Pantone is a member) chose “Shim”, a deep pink-beige as 2016’s emerging colour. Asia-Pacific members were the first of the group to recognise the colours symbolism of changing gender roles. In 2015 Pantone picks Rose Quartz as colour of the year and before you know it we are submerged in a frenzy of light pinks.
Mark Woodman, the former president of CMG, calls the color a “moment of quietude” and explains that “there’s so much stress that people think, What can I do in color and texture that I can take with me that gives me a moment to calm down? That’s why velvet is interesting in this millennial color pink, because it’s a tactile softness with the visual softness.”
Furthermore, also released in 2014, seminal ironist Wes Anderson bathed the entirety of his movie The Grand Budapest Hotel in a sea of pink. The cult director, with unrivalled popularity among millennials and creatives alike, is known for his style and use of colour, as well as the ability to create desire and inspire like no other. Think of the Steve Zissou beanie and that perfectly emblazoned Louis Vuitton luggage staring in The Darjeeling Express; or the directly referenced Royal Tenenbaum tracksuits of Lacoste AW15.
And when it comes to music, Kanye West may have stretched the limits of the new neutral in his unisex Adidas Collections, while Rihanna confirmed the status of Millennial pink on her Fenty sliders, but one rapper paved the way. Cam’Ron, a pivotal figure in dissolving the pink stigma, is the rapper who forged a place for all pink ensembles in one of the macho-centric genres of music.
“Clothing companies need to own and acknowledge their role in perpetuating binary gender norms. That’s a super important step. Then they should actively do something about it…If I’m in a store to buy a shirt, why must my first decision be between a ‘men’s’ shirt / a ‘women’s’ shirt?”
Marie McGwier, cofounder of “Gender Is Over (If You Want It)” project
With 50% of millennials believing that gender comes on a spectrum, barriers are being broken down and stigma dissolved, notably in the area of fashion. Now with transgender models like Andreja Pejic, women modelling men’s clothing and vice versa on the runways, gender-neutral clothing lines are also emerging in abundance. This is the generation in which gender binary clothing is being broken down. While male skirts and rompers are just another attempt to blur the boundaries, the biggest mover in the scene has been the acceptance of pink, Pink as a neutral. Millennial pink has become an era defining colour.
AUGUSTA STATZ. 2017. Glammonitor: As Gender Binaries Fade, Brands are Starting to Embrace Unisex Fashion. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.glammonitor.com/2015/as-gender-binaries-fade-brands-embracing-unisex-fashion-3886/. [Accessed 3 July 2017].
Caitlin Flynn. 2017. Refinery 29: Gigi Hadid Wears Head-To-Toe Millennial Pink. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.refinery29.com/2017/06/161355/gigi-hadid-millennial-pink-lizzie-maguire. [Accessed 1 July 2017].
Lauren Schwartzberg. 2017. The Cut: Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.thecut.com/2017/03/why-millennial-pink-refuses-to-go-away.html. [Accessed 1 July 2017].
The Gaurdian. 2017. The Gaurdian: ‘Millennial pink’ is the colour of now – but what exactly is it?. [ONLINE] Available at: