It’s official: fashion has become completely obsessed with the color green. The shade has appeared in all hues at Molly Goddard, Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors, and Kim Shui for spring—and it’s showing up in the form of much-adored objects, like the Bottega Veneta shopping bags. Then there’s TikTok, whose users’ recent enthusiasm for drinking chlorophyll shows that even the most basic necessities must be drenched in green.
The timing of these enormous fields of green is worth noting: the world is still in a pandemic, but businesses are opening back up—even more intriguing is the fact that trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort predicted green would be the color of 2021, way back in 2019. Of course, Pantone also named the shade “Leprechaun 18-6022” as a leading color for its Fall 2021-2022 NYFW Color Forecast in February 2021, calling it a tribute to “the fun side of nature.”
At the center of all the greenness is Bottega Veneta, which has chosen a bright, flat, and almost shockingly pigmented Kelly green for its packaging, including the aforementioned shopping bags—in addition to its spring 2021 clothing and accessories. On the brand’s runway, there were tailored coats and dresses in green, and for pre-fall 2021, sequined dresses and bags in all their lime-hued glory.
And while spring 2021 was rife with green, there were just as many examples for fall, including Molly Goddard’s mint green tutus, Marni’s artsy knitwear and Miu Miu’s vivid green balaclavas and knitted tights. Salvatore Ferragamo sent neon green blazers down its fall 2021 runway, too.
Fashion historians are adamant that green has always been a thing in fashion, but the increasing idea of sustainability is what has propelled the tone even more in recent seasons. “Some version of the hue appears in each era’s color story,” says historian Raissa Bretaña. “It helps that green is a secondary color—made up of blue and yellow—and has a broad range of possibilities based on cool or warm undertones. For example: a cool, minty shade of green was very popular during the 1950s, while the 1970s preferred a warm-toned avocado green.”
“Finding ways to make fashion more sustainable is at the forefront of every industry conversation at the moment—and perhaps efforts to make our wardrobes ‘greener’ is quite literally being manifested,” she adds.
Another possible reason for the trend? After months of wearing neutral colors and toned-down clothes, there’s a definite feeling that designers and shoppers want to go big. Green, as a color, is undeniably bold. It is by no means a tone that doesn’t immediately attract attention, especially when it’s neon, deep, or bright.
There’s cultural meaning behind green, too, in terms of what the Western world associates it with: “Green may be an appealing color to people right now because it represents renewal, fertility, abundance, and even love,” explains Nicole Pivirotto, who uses the study of color in her work as co-founder of creative studio Aesthetic Magic. “It can also be viewed as the color of life itself. Depending on where you live in the world, things are beginning to reopen, and life is returning to some semblance of normality. This seems to mirror how green appears in nature, as it emerges after winter as a sign of life’s regeneration.”
Color, of course, has an effect on the mind and emotions. “Since green is the most central color in the spectrum, it’s tied to a sense of balance and harmony,” says Pivirotto. “Green is also the color that is easiest for our eyes to adjust to. Because of this, green is often tied to a sense of relaxation, and on a primitive level, green is very comforting since it’s related to both food and water. Green is tied to the heart energy center, or chakra, which represents love and compassion for both the self and others. Green additionally means go, as many traffic lights around the world use green as a signal that it is safe to proceed.”
And if you’re wondering if green is right for you, maybe it has everything to do with mind over matter. “Some also think that green combines the mental qualities of blue, and the physical elements of yellow, making green the synergy of body and mind,” adds Pivirotto.