Even if you’ve never heard of it before, you’ll know ‘millennium pink’. The dusty salmon colour has come to represent the non-conformist, non-binary vibe of the younger generation. However, according to fashion writers, Revolutionary Red is the new Millennium Pink. As Guardian fashion writer Morwenna Ferrier says: “Evidence is stacking up in favour of a rich, arterial colour we’ll call revolutionary red.”So why has this primary colour suddenly hit the mainstream?
According to Ferrier, revolutionary red’s timing is on point thanks to the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The show’s heroines (the handmaids) wear red robes to represent their fertility. But the show – and the colour red – are symbolically fighting back. While millennial pink may be the colour of gender politics, revolutionary red is more closely associated with protests.
“It’s impossible to get away from red’s radical roots and the way it became part of the anti-establishment design canon,” says Patrick Burgoyne, editor of Creative Review. “Its original meaning has been subverted and co-opted.”
Simply by wearing or using red, you can associate yourself with a movement without committing to it.
In fashion and in branding, red has always been popular. For a start, it’s cheaper to print with fewer colours. Plus, an strong shade of red is hard to ignore. Just ask female politicians.
Theresa May wore a red jacket to meet Donald Trump. Likewise, Hillary Clinton’s red Nina McLemore jacket took on a life of its own on the campaign trail. See also Ruth Davidson, Diane Abbott and Nicola Sturgeon, who all love bold red ensembles.
For female politicians, red represents power. It is about being a woman in a man’s world.
For the rest of us, Ferrier says, the change is welcome. Revolutionary red is a chance to wear a colour that means something other than “I’m young”.
Bold, affordable, feminine, and empowering – what’s not to like?