Various colour meanings evoke certain feelings, for example, blue evokes calm, and black can connote authority. Red, green, and gold are typical African colours for men, which can be incorporated into every wardrobe.
Fashion Colours: Black or Red?
The colours you choose are capable of communicating various things to others. Additionally, they influence what you think about yourself. For example, black is a colour that reflects authority, power, and a sense of independence. Red, on the other hand, has been studied to cause others to experience a faster heartbeat. It is often associated with strong emotions such as anger, passion, love or even danger.
An example of geometric pattern with contrasting colours is one of our own U.Mi-1 prints from our Voyager collection (below). Placing bright reds and yellows in contrast to strong blacks and hard shapes creates a simple but mesmerising effect.
U.Mi-1 Voyager Collection
Understanding the colour paths and combinations will help you colour coordinate your outfits in appropriate and desirable ways. For instance, picking analogous colours for your outfit is good for a harmonious, easy-on-the-eye look. Neutral colours are perfect for playing it safe. The more colours, the more casual the look. Go for complimentary colour pairings for when you want to leave a lasting impression. They give an exciting, calculated, and bold look. These days, time of year matters less. However, pastels of yellow are usually associated with summer, while burgundy and brown are autumn fashion colours.
Familiarising yourself with some colour combinations can make your dressing sharper and shopping more fun. Here are some sure fire ways you can experiment with colours.
• Navy and White: This colour combo, coined ‘sailor’, invokes a composed, mature, and timeless look. Our unisex shirt with shoulder strip is an example of this particular colour combination.
• Grey and Black: This combo capitalises on the contrast and complimentary nature of the two colours. It is an underrated look that if used well can create a subtle mystique in your look.
• Green and Khaki: The camouflage tones in this give off the confident, purposeful aura that military wear has on menswear.
• Black and White: You literally can not go wrong pairing this all-time classic colour combo. Its high contrast gives a clean elegant look.
• Monochromatic: all one colour, but different shades, tones, textures or patterns. All blue attire could consist of a navy suit, light blue shirt, dark blue tie, blue pocket square.
Colour & Art
Artists have historically explored colour and its uses. Artists noted for their contributions to colour theory include Willam De Kooning, Josef Albers, Henri Matisse and more recently Olafur Eliasson. Albers and Eliasson in particular explore colour and its effect on our perception.
Colour expresses distance, importance, and emotions in various forms of art. The same goes for fashion: In our fashion collections, a splash of a colour can make an instant statement by drawing attention to a particular detail or providing visual contrast.
African Colours: Vibrant and Bright
Colours in African fashion have a long-running relationship. This is evident when one looks at Kente cloth from Ghana, Nigerian indigo-dyed Adire fabrics, vibrant Masai fabrics and beads, etc. Furthermore, the tropical nature of African environments make vibrant colours pop even more. Colourful Ankara fabrics have been adopted by many countries in the continent, it is often mistaken to be African. It is actually Indonesian in origin and was much loved by Africans due to its variation of designs and colours, which fueled our adventurous sense of style and enabled endless possibilities of bespoke creations.
The combination of red, gold, and green is closely associated with African culture due to how often they feature in the flags of African countries. In addition, they are also prominent colours in the Pan-African movement. Brilliant colour combinations include red paired with blue or mustard yellow. Green and grey is another favourite. Gold with black is a match made in heaven.
Colours are an essential part of one’s wardrobe and combined in the right way can elevate an outfit to express more of your personal flair. Colours used in particular combinations can also evoke different cultures such as green, black and yellow of Jamaican Rastafarians or the red, gold and green of African flags. In conclusion, careful usage of the right colours can help project a particular identity and if all else fails, some tried and true pairings always work.
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