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Building a Seasonal Color Palette for Your Fashion Brand

Ready to build a seasonal color palette for your next collection but unsure of where to start?

Follow these key tips, and you’ll be sure to have colorways that WOW your key customers.

First to start, do your research. We start with a big deep dive into the designer market. We look at department stores to see what colors are coming out across all different brands so we can capture the overarching color trends. Some of my favorite places to look for these color trends are Bloomingdales, Shopbop, and the Iconic for the Aussie market.

Pin and save photos of any prints, colors, or color combos that inspire you. Anything can be an inspiration here! It can be pictures of bathroom tile, and landscapes, even nail polish can work for color inspo!

If it sparks your interest it may be worth adding to your color palette.

We also look at what’s coming down the fashion week runways as well as trend reports from places like WGSN or Fashion Snoops. These two areas are a little trickier to review for a non-industry insider, but if you have anyone with access to either trend resource, try getting your hands on a color trend report.

The hot colors of the season according to Vogue, and Pantone are always worth taking note of as well. Pantone also releases a color of the year that is highly regarded and usually quite popular in the year after the announcement.

Once you have a fairly good understanding of the color trends and where you see things going, consider basic color theory. Remember learning about the color wheel in your grade school art class? Dust that part of your brain off because we will be using it.

Based on the color wheel, there are seven major color schemes. They are monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic, tetradic, and square. Let’s dive deeper into each of them.

Monochromatic - a color scheme made of varying tints and shades of one color.

Analogous - a color scheme formed by pairing one main color with the two colors directly next to it on the color wheel.

Complementary - a color scheme that uses two colors directly across from each other on the color wheel.

Split Complementary - a color scheme that includes one dominant color and the two colors directly adjacent to the dominant color's complement.

Triadic - a color scheme comprised of three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel in a triangle.

Tetradic - a color scheme that uses two sets of analogous colors evenly spaced apart in a rectangle.

Square - a color scheme that uses two sets of complementary colors evenly spaced apart in a square.

By using one of these color schemes as a base, you can build a color palette around the color combos and trend colors that you found above. Play around with all the options. You never know what will strike your fancy.

Next, we need to take this cookie-cutter color wheel palette and turn it into something that works in the fashion world.

Remember when I stated at the beginning that a winning color palette covers all customer preferences? Well, now I’m going to explain to you how to do that. That trick is that every color palette should have the following:

  1. Fashion Colors

  2. Must-Have Basics

  3. Neutrals

Your fashion colors will be the season's trending colors. These colors will draw your avant-garde

customers in. They like being in style and ahead of the curve. But not all customers will be as daring. That’s why your fashion colors will likely not be your best sellers. Your best sellers will be your basics + neutrals. These are your safe bet colors because a neutral top and a black bottom will never go out of style.

So think about the color palette you built above and add some white, cream, beige, tan, mocha, grey, charcoal, navy, or black to round it out.

But we aren't done yet. Here are some PRO TIPS to consider:

  • Dark-colored solid neutrals will outperform almost any print.

  • Unique color pairings with a pop of unexpected color can be brilliant.

  • Blues always do well; the same is true for corals.

  • Olive, navy, and deep plum make for great neutrals

  • Don’t invest too heavily in white swimsuits. Also, triple-line those bad boys.

  • Black is a MUST. Everyone wants black, especially for bottoms.

  • You will make some less-than-ideal color decisions; every brand does.

Need some assistance in building a seasonal color palette and the perfect prints for your brand? Check out our Color + Concept Curation package. 🎨


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