Arts and Entertainment

Millennial Pink is the New Black

Millennial pink has been around for the past few years due to its aesthetics and its impact on society.

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By Minseo Kim

The obsession with having something look “aesthetically pleasing” is familiar for most millennials today. Trends like having a minimalistic bedroom with white walls or adding green plants and red roses to make something look livelier and more eco-friendly isn’t new. A particularly interesting trend surrounding a mainstream color with a long history popped up a few years ago—millennial pink.

But what is millennial pink?

You may not have heard of the shade “Millennial Pink,” but you have definitely seen it. It’s a combination of peach, beige, and salmon. Think plain pink, but paler and not as bright.

It’s everywhere—from store logos like Acne Studios, to shades of makeup (Colourpop has released an entire line dedicated to the color), to restaurant wallpapers just so people who take photos of their food have a nicer background. Pop culture examples include the upper half of Wes Anderson’s legendary Grand Budapest Hotel, Kendall Jenner’s wall (it apparently helps suppress her appetite, according to her blog), and just about any home goods found in Urban Outfitters; toasters, blenders, and even trash cans come in this pervasive pastel.

This soft shade of pink is unstoppably popular, partly because it’s pleasing to the eye. Pantone, the world-renowned authority on color, describes it as having “a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure.”

But to understand why exactly millennial pink is becoming popular, we have to trace it back to its roots. 2012 was the year when pink really started popping back up. This was the era that experienced the rise of Barbie Pink, which was eccentric and vibrant. It was common for a young girl to have a pink Barbie doll back then. This set the stage for girls believing that pink was the only color for them.

Fast forward to 2016, when Pantone named Rose Quartz as the color of the year, which further pushed for the return of pink. Apple used this color as one of their defaults for the iPhone, calling it “rose gold.”

But it was still a bit too “girly” for the androgyny-seeking, trendy millennial. So in 2017, for their Spring fashion report, Pantone picked Pale Dogwood, a softer, more subtle pink hue. This shade matches well with skin tones, green salads, and Instagram filters because it includes cooler tints that complement brighter subjects.

Pale Dogwood has been transformed, even more since Pantone picked it out, to the color we refer to as millennial pink. Multiple top fashion designers, such as Marc Jacobs and Gucci, have integrated the color into their clothing lines, garnering even more attention.

There are two arguments that people believe as to how millennial pink became so popular. One viewpoint believes that the color is sought after now because of how trends work. Colors have their moments—mainly because of the culture surrounding the decade. In the 1970s, it was shimmery gold due to rebellious teens doing outrageous things with glitter; in the 1990s, it was neon colors and hot pinks since many hip hop artists followed this fad. Now, it’s millennial pink’s turn.

The other viewpoint is that millennials seem to look to millennial pink as a way to fight against rigid gender roles and stereotypes. Millennial pink isn’t just a color for aesthetics. It’s androgynous, meaning that it has no specific gender association. Look around and you can see people, regardless of gender, adorning themselves with the popular color. Gone are the days where pink is for girls and blue is for boys.

This more self-determined approach to colors is having a bigger impact on millennial culture. The color-fluid mindset coincides with the increasing number of social movements toward gender equality and fluidity.

There was once a time when men didn’t want to wear pink because pink was considered a feminine color. The times have changed; some even call millennial pink “the neutral color of the generation.” The girliness typically associated with pink is dead.

Millennial pink is very different from its early ancestor Barbie Pink and it’s viewed as a small step towards dismantling the social construct of what is deemed masculine and feminine. Regardless, this shade of pink isn’t going anywhere.