Tumblr Pink, Scandi Pink, Rose Quartz and Millennial Pink. These are the four different ways to refer to the trendy, soft pink color that has slipped its way into almost every facet of life these days. Millennial Pink, the more dusty, toned down version of Barbie Pink, has become ubiquitous in pop culture and fashion. If you’re having trouble conceptualizing this color, look no further than Drake’s Hotline Bling music video and album artwork, Rihanna’s Fenty Collection or Zayn’s pink hair.
Indeed, Millennial Pink has taken over the majority of our Instagram feeds and has most likely found a place in your closet. You can buy almost anything in this shade of pink: household items, clothing, electronics and even musical instruments. While not quite Millennial Pink, rose gold might have found its way into your pocket in the form of a shiny new iPhone 7. It is not the case that only high fashion designers and celebrities love this color, as everyday people are in on this trend as well. Brittany Bing (C '19) sees Millennial Pink as something that has its roots in the internet. "It's a color that speaks to the generation that grew up on the internet. It somehow also represents meme culture, like vaporwave. A person who is seen wearing millennial pink is a person who is in the know with pop culture."
Most trends don’t need an explanation; they just sort of happen. However, New York magazine tried to explain why this color is so popular, and tracked its decade long climb to popularity in a recent article. Their explanation is that Millennial Pink’s popularity has a lot to do with a younger generation’s beliefs on the spectrum of gender. Ideas on gender fluidity, such as gender neutral fashion lines, allow pink to be a color that both genders can use. Pink, a color that was always associated with femininity, is now a trend that works with both genders on a mainstream, popular level.
When asked about how we can explain the popularity of colors like Millennial Pink, Penn Design Professor David Comberg said that “Color preference is very subjective—perhaps it's most influenced by emotion and cultural associations like fashion, advertising, and environmental factors. It seems color preferences lack any rational or predictable basis.” He also mentioned that the Color Marketing Group provides pseudo–scientific methods that attempt to predict and explain color trends, but that this can be a slippery slope. While it’s an understatement to say that it can be hard to explain these types of trends, it may even lead to some false conclusions as well. Professor Comberg ended with the open ended, but hardly untrue conclusion: “Maybe just blame it all on culture, evolution, or Instagram.”