professional uniforms

Pink is not for stuffed shirts

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We are rather partial to a bit of pink. In fact, we would rather like more of it. But in our 20-odd year career designing for luxury brands, we have only been asked to create one collection of pink uniforms. That was for the staff at Shoe Boudoir for Kurt Geiger, for whom we delivered hot pink dresses five years ago (see our picture, right).

But now it seems that PINK is a risky business, especially when you’re putting it in capital letters and hanging a sign outside a shop. Thomas Pink, the shirt-making people, have recently won a case against Victoria’s Secret, arguing that the lingerie brand’s separate range of ‘Pink’ branded shops would create confusion in the market. Thomas Pink were not keen on that, as they saw VS very much at the sassy end of clothing, and didn’t want to be associated with them. In short, they were just too sexy for TP’s shirts.

In reality, many companies steer clear of pink, but for different, non-legal reasons. It’s about that instant, cultural reaction. Girlie, gay, frivolous, out there.

What constitutes a brand is a complex issue, but when colours stray into the argument, it all becomes something of a minefield. Isn’t pink just a colour that lies somewhere between red and white? And where does it end: can white or purple or yellow be a brand name all on its own? A specific shade has been the subject of a trade-mark debate: next time you chomp into a bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate, be aware that the company has spent a huge amount in legal fees trying (and so far failing) to protect the exact shade of purple in the packaging. And beware any willy-nilly using of International Klein Blue: the French artist Yves Klein managed to register his specially formulated colour in the 1960s.

As Fashionizer is moving more into the international arena, we are keeping tabs on the implications of colour in different countries. Pink has a feminine implication in much of Asia as well as in the West, but in Korea, it means trust – the opposite of frivolous, in fact. So there. In Japan it’s not girlie at all and is popular with both men and women. Could be even considered macho, if you think about it.

So with increasing globalisation and the expansion of mega-brands, will pink finally have the chance to come into its own?

Go on, be brave. Go pink.

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