The Power & Politics of Colour The Power & Politics of Colour

The Power & Politics of Colour

The colours we choose to wear aren’t always just what suits your skin tone, brings out your eyes or what that magazine told you is so hot right now. Colour evokes emotion, subconsciously affecting how we feel and act more than we realise.

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, a study was conducted by Durham University where competitors across four combat sports were randomly assigned either a blue or red uniform. They found that those wearing red were more likely to win, tying to the psychological effects that colour can enhance camaraderie, competitiveness and motivation.

Durham University Study 'Red Advantage'

They found that those wearing red were more likely to win, tying to the psychological effects that colour can enhance camaraderie, competitiveness and motivation.

For centuries colour has been used to communicate where we belong, with many tribes telling each other apart and identifying status quo by the colour and design of what they wear. Long before the Athens Olympics, The Spartans knew something Durham University didn’t, and favoured wearing a rich crimson red because of its perception as an aggressive & masculine colour, ideal for hiding war wounds or splattered blood - talk about versatility!


Pantone Period Red

This year, with the equality movement gaining more traction than ever, we’ve seen colour continue to become increasingly political, being used as a powerful tool to broadcast your values, albeit silently.

For the past 20 years, Pantone have released their Colour Of The Year every December selected based on trend-forecasting research by the Pantone Colour Institute, and  based on "what is taking place in our global culture at a moment in time". It’s always controversial and last year’s colour Classic Blue was no different. But it’s going to be hard for this year’s annual colour to top the attention of their October release: Period.

“‘Period’ emboldens people who menstruate to feel proud of who they are,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Colour Institute.

This controversial “active and adventurous red hue” was launched in partnership with menstrual cup brand INTIMINA aimed at breaking down the stigma around menstruation. They want to encourage everyone to feel comfortable to talk freely and proudly about this natural bodily function - regardless of gender and generation.

 This statement colour release was met with mixed responses of praise and criticism with women claiming that the colour was inaccurate (amongst trans-phobic comments) ...but at the end of the day the ambition was to start the conversation and remove the taboo surrounding menstruation. And in that case, job done!

Sadly, it seems Facebook missed the memo.

Recently, the Australian period-proof underwear brand Modibodi had a very public run-in with our digital overlords over their ‘New Way to Period’ Campaign.

Their ads were removed from Facebook for violating their guidelines, picturing blood-stained bed sheets. But after major backlash on social media, Facebook finally capitulated after ‘consulting with their team’ and removed censorship of these ads. A bloody fabulous result not to mention an incredibly successful way of garnering mooncup loads of free press.  

“It’s the twenty-first century and it’s disappointing Facebook doesn’t want to normalise the conversation around menstruation.” - Kirsty Chong, Founder, Modibodi


In light of women's liberation... In the days immediately after Trump’s “huuuuge” inauguration way back in 2017 (remember those halcyon days?!), we saw a sea of pink at the United States Women's March with thousands of women, men & children sporting their hot pink crocheted ‘Pussyhats’.

The project, founded by Jayna Zweiman and Krista Suh was to create a bold and powerful visual statement of solidarity to support women's rights. These humble hand-made hats gave a visual identity to protests against the rhetoric used toward women and minorities in the previous year’s state and federal elections, and has since become an iconic global symbol of political activism, or craftivism if you will.

“To the millions of people who are demanding change in our political system, and to American democracy, the colour pink is the new battle-cry.” Andrew Burnstine, associate professor at Lynn University. 

Last month US brand Argent announced their ‘Election Collection’ partnering with Supermajority, a based gender equality advocacy group encouraging women into political action (see main image). An array of celebs, including Hilary Clinton, America Ferrera, and Amy Schumer took to the internet clad in their hot pink power suits as a call to action to vote in the upcoming election, with the trending hashtag #AmbitionSuitsYou. 


SS20 Political Pink 'Musk' Hemp / Organic Cotton by Citizen Wolf

The Guardian claimed that hot pink has been “reframed as the colour of activism” saying that ‘Political pink’ has become the colour of activism in the US. As the election approaches, we question what the future of our planet will look like, from climate change to nuclear weapons to global health… 

At Citizen Wolf, we are all about colour. If you don't have time to crochet a Pussyhat or Pantone's 'Period' red isn't your jam, our take on political pink is now available in Musk across two different fabrics.

If 2021 had a colour, what do you think it should it be?
We're crossing our fingers for green.





Written by Florence McGlynn