Sunday, February 1, 2015

Colour Psychology and Fashion Trends

Dr. Janetius, Ms. Shenbagam, Department of Psychology; Ms. Shilpa Ayu, ST., Department of Management Studies. Paper presented at the National Conference Harmony 2015 on Fashion and home textiles, Coimbatore

Colour PsychologyIndia today is becoming a fertile hub for budding fashion designers as youngsters are becoming increasingly fashion conscious, owing to exposure to media influence. Preference for particular colour or dress is a deeply rooted emotional response which may not offer any apparent rational answer. Psychologists down through the centuries maintain that colour preference is related to human personality and colours have an impact on our moods, feelings and behaviour. Colour or colour preference is a silent vibration giving specific meaning and message to the person who uses and, it sends a strong message to people who see (Mahnke, 1996).
Colour PsychologyTraditionally colours are identified from rainbow and the seven colours of the spectrum. The International Commission on Illumination (CIE - Commission internationale de l'├ęclairage) suggests that the human eye can detect approximately 2.38 million colours. The ability of human eye to distinguish meaningful difference in colour tone and shade is limited by visual capability of the individual. The powerful influence of colour regulates our choices from selection of phone we use, bike we ride, car we drive, food we eat, clothes we wear and house we dwell.
Today the three predominant colours identified for computer and modern day technology related display are primary colours RGB or Red, Green and Blue. By varying the amount of each of these colours, the human eye can be tricked to see a spectrum of colours, including white and black. Because these primary colours occur frequently in nature, they have corresponding psychological properties that can change our behaviour and emotions. Psychologists in the field of colour and personality or colour psychology bring out the following description for various colours.
Dr Janetius Talk on Colour PsychologyScientific studies in the field of colour psychology have found that different colours can provoke very different reactions in people. Faber Birren (1997), pioneer in the field of colour study, argues that colours affect our personality and mood and, it is possible to make precise judgments about the meaning of colour preferences and their revelations of personality traits. Although individual differences are emphatically pronounced in perception and preference of colours, psychologists figure out some personality attributes behind this differences and also commonality among choices (Ritberger, 2005). 
There are days a person prefers warm shades and s/he prefers cold and pale shades on certain other occasions. Added to that, people prefer some colours appropriate to certain occasions even if they do not like the colours and shades altogether. While some people hate certain colours, there are people who prefer such colours in their day to day dressing.  For example, people are biased against black colour in the society, often it is associated with death, mourning and sadness. However, there are people who find it classy, fashionable, and professional and even attractive. A study on Carl Jung’s (1962) ancestral inheritance, collective unconscious and its role on social labelling of colours is far from the scope of this study, however, the unconscious motives behind colour preference is easy for comprehension. A good judgment of the way colour and personality interact can help us choosing appropriate clothing, and making our daily interactions pleasant and pleasing to others.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the dress colour and dressing style preference of rural adolescents. 
Dr.Janetius TalkThe study suggests that there are considerable gender differences in fashion consciousness, colour preference and choice of dress on different occasions. College boys prefer white shades more than anything else where as girls prefer white and pink coloured costumes. Boys tend to favour trendy and modern outfit where as girls choose casual and relaxed costumes. Boys take freedom to choose their dressing materials where as a girl’s choices are limited by the interference of parents. Further studies could be done in broader avenues like demographic variables, urban – rural differences and place of education for detailed understanding of dress and fashion consciousness. 

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