‘Pink is a colour for girls’. This age-old polarisation still exists within our society and serves to set apart, for means of easy classification, half of the population from the other. But no colour nor person can be labelled so arbitrarily. There are simply too many shades of connotation. Accordingly, I present to you Millennial Pink, also referred to as Tumblr pink or Scandi pink. I’m sure you’re already well acquainted with the concept, but will just clarify it before we move on. Here’s a little factsheet on this breed of pink, our generation’s supposed MVP.
What is Millennial Pink?
A colour of various shades that people like to disagree on, but generally somewhere in the range of grapefruit with hints of salmon and dappled shades of apricot.
Why are we talking about it?
Because it’s had a big part to play in the last four or so years, infiltrating everything involving fashion, design and (social) media.
Since when has this been a thing?
It’s contentious. Perhaps since 2012, but more specifically since Wes Anderson’s 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel which featured modern-retro themes such as a pink-painted hotel. A highlight of its well-documented fame is the rose gold iPhone released in 2015.
So what’s the fuss then?
Because of its general omnipresence and the way Millennial Pink has been used, it has become synonymous with affordable expense for our generation of a more androgynous and image-centred youth. Style icons have both used and sold us items of every kind in every form of Millennial Pink. For representative examples, think Drake’s pink coat in February this year, and two months later Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma silky sneaker.
So that’s a pretty quick rundown, but what about its purpose? The whole point of Millennial Pink is that it can be what you want it to be – it’s fresh yet it’s retro, it’s female yet it’s male. These blurred boundaries are said to define our generation. But it’s hypocritical to try and give our generation a definition by something that’s open to individual interpretation. That’s why I don’t like it. Don’t define us, let us be open and live this interpretation. Just as our society is making progress to shift long-standing ideas (us Aussies are finally on the road to #samelove), why are we still trying to sum up everything under a creative bracket – like the 70s with that bright orange and that weird off-avacado green…
There’s a wonder and mystery that’s associated with Millenial Pink. Nobody can really define why it works as a marketing tool and inter-brand icon nor what it makes us feel – is it sincerity or comfort, playfulness or retro-based nostalgia that feels like a warm and faded childhood memory? It has attractive yet calming ‘qualities’. It is somehow fun yet simultaneously serious?
Millennial Pink is supposed to parallel our generation and our technological/media-centred existence. But who cares. Why are we obsessing over a colour? Why so much talk? Our brains are obviously attaching meaning for the sake of clarifying and understanding, when we could arguably use the energy to help resolve some of the arguably more important issues that stand with what Millenial Pink is said to repressent and address – such as ambiguity and androgyny.
It claims to be all-encompassing and yet we use it to define. It’s hollow when trying to be profound. As I and probably many others see it, the current interpretation of Milennial Pink mirrors our materialistic and narcissistic world. But perhaps our tendency to categorise and classify can be justified – as a way of simplifying and better comprehending the complex world around us. Or perhaps it is a means of turning a blind eye to the wider issues in society which go much further than the colour of your iPhone case…