Baylor Fashion Forecasting Expert: The Business and Power of Color

Baylor Fashion Forecasting Expert: The Business and Power of Color

February 16, 20242 min read
2023 Color of the Year Viva Magenta

Every December for 20 years, the global color management company Pantone reveals its Color of the Year for the upcoming year. For 2023, Pantone has chosen a color that “vibrates with vim and vigor”: Viva Magenta. More than just a pretty color for fashion, Viva Magenta 18-1750 is the result of years of research into trends in technology, entertainment and fashion.

But what does the Color of the Year mean to the average consumer? According to Baylor University fashion forecasting expert Lorynn R. Divita, Ph.D., retailers with this information can offer products that will resonate with their customers.

“Color is the most important factor in whether someone is going consider a purchase,” Divita said. However, “Retailers have to get it right.”

Pantone collaborated with diverse group of industry leaders such as Motorola, Lenovo, Spoonflower fabrics and Artechouse Studio to ensure they correctly identified emerging consumer tastes by making connections beyond the boundaries of fashion.

“Fashion change happens because people demand novelty,” Divita said, “and retailers want to make people happy.”

Using color forecasting is a low-risk way for retailers to provide that novelty. Unlike changes in skirt lengths or pant styles, color is a trend available to everyone.

“You can choose how you do it. It is through a garment? Is it through an accessory? Color will translate to multiple categories. So, everybody can participate in a way that feels comfortable to them,” Divita said.

Color Forecasting is typically a reliable way to predict trends, but it isn’t always sure thing. Consumers won’t purchase something they fundamentally don’t like. To be successful, color forecasters must be mindful of that.

Divita points to the words of cultural reporter and author Virginia Postrel on the two criteria needed for a trend to takeoff: “Do I like that?” and “Am I like that?”

If the answer to both questions is yes, the trend is more likely take off. If not, retailers will be stuck with warehouses full of unsold merchandise.

Pantone began in 1963 as a color matching standard for the printing industry offering uniformity of color throughout the design and manufacturing process. The numbers behind each color are a recipe for creating an exact match.

According to the Pantone website, “Pantone’s color language supports all color conscious industries; textiles, apparel, beauty, interiors, architectural and industrial design, encompassing over 10,000 color standards across multiple materials including printing, textiles, plastics, pigments, and coatings.” Using this industry knowledge, the company branched out into color forecasting in 1999 with its first color of the year, Cerulean. Today, the Pantone Color of the Year is an eagerly anticipated announcement for the fashion forward.

Only time will tell if Viva Magenta will be embraced or become footnote in pop culture history. Until then, be on the lookout at your favorite stores for the next big thing. If you are looking for the correct Pantone Baylor colors, they are Baylor Green 3435 and University Gold 1235.

Connect with:
  • Lorynn Divita, Ph.D.
    Lorynn Divita, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Apparel Design and Merchandising

    Dr. Divita's areas of research are fashion forecasting and trend contagion; and textile, apparel and retailing industry topics.

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