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New Year. New Colors. New Apparel Logistics Challenges.

The new year is finally here, and, just a few weeks ago, Pantone told us what color we'd all be wearing in 2013. Or, at least, what color a lot of people will be wearing this year. Or, at least, what color you might see designers dabbling with slightly more often than other shades of green.

This year, the color is "Emerald." So long "Tangerine Tango" (the color of 2012) — we hardly knew you. 2013, apparently, is shaping up to be a real gem of a year (albeit a bit less sweet and rhythmic).

Pantone Color 2013 Emerald

We've discussed Pantone a bit in the past here on the Apparel Logistics blog. While their color forecasts may seem silly to some, color can actually be a subtle, but significant and demanding market indicator — one that can complicate fashion logistics. And Pantone's crack panel of color experts has had a proven impact in the past.

“I’m looking at the colors now that were put out [by Pantone] two years ago for summer 2011,” says Mikel Cirkus, who heads the Conceptual Design Group at Firmenich, the flavor and fragrance company. “And you can look at what’s out in the marketplace—for instance, this red-orange, or flame orange, is everywhere now. It’s not a coincidence. It’s not even forecasting in my mind, it’s a dictating thing.

But another theme we discuss often here is how while the world is more interconnected than ever — indeed, fashion trends truly spread from continent to continent in the blink of an eye and the click of a smartphone — apparel companies looking to do business around the world must navigate an endless array of tricky apparel supply chain management issues. This is true both for companies that are looking to manufacture their apparel in distant corners of the globe or those that are seeking to expand their global footprint and distribute their apparel globally to new, often untapped foreign markets.

Take Pantone, for example: their fantastic forecasts may not be quite so prescient in, say, China.

According to Jing Daily, a magazine about business, luxury and culture in the Middle Kingdom:

In business, first impressions are everything. This is true everywhere, but it’s particularly true in China, a country and culture rich with heavily embedded symbolism, where colors and their hidden meanings can be the difference between success and failure.

To illustrate this challenge, the article points out this nifty infographic released recently by Illuminant Partners, a PR and strategic communications agency, that outlines in what situations various colors should be avoided in China.

China Green

According to the graphic, emerald might run into a few problems:

Symbolically, "getting a green hat" means a man has an unfaithful wife. When preparing gifts, green should be avoided at all costs if the gifts are intended to be worn anywhere on or near people's heads.

Hmm. Good to know. It's not hard to see an enterprising company shipping a hundred thousand green hats to China unaware of this cultural norm — at best, wasting an enormous amount of money or, at worst, deeply offending the populace and ruining any chance at future success in the country.

Posted: 1/4/2013 12:44:21 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments


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