• Color is a powerful tool for designers as they create garments to tell stories, evoke emotions, and stand out.
  • Milanblocks is a label that is prioritizing color in their design process to create pieces that are unique and creative.
  • 2022 has seen an increase in designers that are using bold and evocative colors for their garments.

Color has been an integral part of the fashion industry since its inception - where dyes and their availability have historically dictated what is 'in' and what is 'out.' In recent decades, though, color has made its way into department stores in an almost cyclical way. Design houses are inspired by certain colors, and this is reflected on runways and trickles down to every retail store. As a result, consumers see periods where certain colors are in demand, and others not. Sometimes, the absence of color is en vogue, too.

According to Pantone, in their book 'Pantone on Fashion: A Century of Color in Design:' "The story of fashion is the story of color. More than any other single factor, color gives the garment (and the person who wears it) impact - both visual and emotional." This illustrates the power that color holds. Other integral aspects of garments, like texture, form and structure, are almost secondary to the visual representation of color. In 2022, color is back and bolder than ever. Gone are the days where retail stores were filled with grays, nudes, and hues of white. Social media, and the designers that people are wearing, have showcased that an array of color and their combinations are what is interesting now.

This year, many designers have chosen to represent strong color palettes, where hues are vibrant and bold, and are often incorporated into dynamic patterns. Designers, such as Hua Cline of Milanblocks, are taking runways and social media by storm - utilizing color as both a conversation piece, and a powerful fashion motif.

Top 10 Labels Using Dynamic Color

1. Milanblocks

Milanblocks was founded in 2012 by Hua Cline - a designer who is adept at designing and creating evening clutches using non-traditional materials. The brand is stocked at Macy's and has also received coverage from ELLE, COSMO, and Seventeen.

Cline's designers are inspired by childhood, time, and relationships. Each design is whimsical, and uses color as an integral component. Cline states that she is, "nostalgic for the color of macarons and bows." This is evident in Milanblock's vibrant and bright acrylic clutches - which are often adorned with colorful gems, rhinestones, and feathers. Love is embedded into each design.

Milanblocks is minority owned, and places an emphasis on diversity, inclusion, and eco-consciousness. Hua Cline will be at NYFW 2022.

Milanblocks
Milanblocks Milanblocks

2. House of Sunny

House of Sunny was founded in 2011 by Sunny Williams. The label has received widespread attention on social media in the last two years, especially amongst young adults on TikTok. Many influencers have been spotted wearing the label's designs, with one particular green dress being a favorite.

House of Sunny utilizes color in diverse ways, but its adoption is a vital part of the brand's core aesthetic. Each season uses an interesting new color palette that ranges from pastels to bold hues. The label is also known for using color in interesting and evocative patterns like flames, stars, and knit graphics.

3. Cult Gaia

Cult Gaia is another social media favorite that was founded in 2012. The label started out by creating timeless, earth inspired pieces, but has evolved to showcase colorful, artful designs. The label attempts to make each garment a standout piece that is both timeless, and endlessly interesting.

Consumers who love Cult Gaia shop with the brand because of its unique take on color, pattern, and textile. When perusing the label's website, consumers will find the garments arranged by color. This illustrates the importance of color to the brand, where each collection has an array of palettes that are bold and dynamic.

4. UNIF

UNIF was founded in 2010 by Eric Espinoza and Christine Lai. The label is a favorite of influencers like Emma Chamberlain. The brand has become beloved due to its grungy style that is reminiscent of the late 90's and early-2000's.

UNIF utilizes color in pattern as an effective way to reference nostalgic hues and textiles of previous decades. Whilst some of their collections make use of a muted color palette to reference a grunge aesthetic, other collections reference pastel palettes to evoke a sense of childhood nostalgia. As a result, it is evident that the color palettes of each collection are pivotal in order to express a specific aesthetic and fashion reference point.

5. Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman founded her namesake label in 2000 after completing her education at Parsons. The label has become synonymous with colorful textiles and energetic designs. Mara Hoffman strives to be as sustainable as possible. As a result, their garments are high quality and are made to last. This ultimately results in the brand being positioned as more of a luxury label, and its price point reflects this.

The label is fond of bright pinks, oranges, and greens. These colors are frequently combined in textiles to reflect color blocking patterns. Similarly, the label also frequently explores monotone garments, where every detail is a single color.

6. Montunas

Montunas was founded as a way to pay homage to Costa Rica and London. The brand creates elegant handbags and clutches that are designed for purpose and practicality. The label focuses on quiet elegance and sophistication, and this is reflected in their clever usage of color.

When viewing the Montunas online store, it is apparent that the label has a consistent color ethos. The handbags make use of muted hues of pastels. When the handbags are not dusty rose or quiet teal, they are often tortoiseshell or brown leather. This allows the brand to explore quiet luxury and maintain a practical and functional look.

7. With Harper Lu

With Harper Lu was founded in 2019 by a designing mother-daughter duo. The label positions color and textile as the most important facets of their designs. The garments are created and designed in Melbourne and reflect a quintessential Australian flair. The label prioritizes sustainability, and works with small drops and calculated fabric consumption.

The label makes use of soft baby blues, lilacs, and yellows in their designs. Color is also frequently incorporated into pattern, where some of the brand's most popular designs illustrate an homage to tie dye. The label builds a clear brand identity through their uniquely Australian take on color and textile.

8. J W Anderson

Jonathan Anderson established his namesake label in 2008. The brand began strictly designing and selling accessories, but has grown to sell clothing and footwear. In recent years, J W Anderson has received attention and appreciation for their handbags. What is notable about their handbag designs is both their form and their utilization of color.

The label's signature leather handbags frequently combine bold and bright colors together to form a cohesive, color blocked accessory. The label makes use of whimsical elements to invoke fun and youthfulness. The label's 'Bumper' bags come in a variety of colors and patterns. This allows consumers to showcase their own personal style through their choice of colorway.

9. Dyspnea

Dyspnea was founded in 2013, and creates designs that are targeted to Gen Z and Millennial women. The label's website is a shock of pink and red, and displays garments that are primarily dynamic in their use of color.

The label's vibrant colors are accompanied by whimsical and, often sparkly, adornments. Consumers purchase Dyspnea apparel to stand out and make a splash. The usage of color is amplified by rhinestones, ruffles, and sheer details. This brand is not geared at the modest.

10. ELLISS

ELLISS was founded in 2016 by Elliss Soloman, a London-based designer. The brand places an emphasis on sustainability and ethically sourced materials and textiles. In addition to this, the brand focuses on pattern and color with their collections.

Much of the label's garments are made of graphic fabrics that tell a story through their imagery. Color is artfully positioned and used to represent the label's target wearer. The brand is enigmatic and rich, and is designed to be worn by the confident and the bold.

Final Thoughts

Color is a vital consideration for any designer. One academic at Pennsylvania State University noted that, "Color is a powerful selling tool, especially in the fashion and textile industry, in which products aim to inspire consumers visually." Color in design is seen as an important component for expression and evocation. 2022 has seen the rise of vibrant, bold, and rich colors on runways. Designers like Milanblocks, House of Sunny, and ELLISS have worked to use color as an asset within their collections - making a splash in the fashion scene.

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