Be happy. Wear Mimosa this January.

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Last week, Gap and Pantone opened up a pop-up shop on 5th Ave in the company’s ‘concept store’ space. The concept? Selling t-shirts in a range of Pantone hues, naturally.

The idea of offering a limited number of classic designs in a plethora of colors is certainly not a new one. Uniqlo, and to some extent Lacoste, have both successfully implemented it over the years. Despite not being a revolutionary innovation, It has always been a concept I’ve liked- There is something curious about the juxtaposition of wearing something as ubiquitous as a gap t-shirt or a Lacoste polo, whilst retaining enough control and choice to achieve a level of individuality and differentiation.

The shop, which is open until February 8th, will feature a full palette of Gap tees in true Pantone Colors, including a solitary limited-edition tee in Mimosa (#14-0848), Pantone’s color of the year for 2009, which is available only at the Gap & Pantone T-Shop.

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Pantone describe the color as having seven characteristics: Optimism, hope, reassurance, warmth, cheerfulness, radiance, and versatility. Whilst these are undoubtedly behavioral traits that it will be useful to manifest over what is likely to be a tricky twelve months, I can’t help but laugh at such pretentious myopia.

The meaning, or characteristics of a color, are surely nothing more than those bestowed upon it. Colors mean different things in different cultures. I’m sure ‘The World’s Local Bank’ pointed this out a while back. I also remain unconvinced that merely slipping a Mimosa colored t-shirt on is enough to imbue you with optimism and cheerfulness. Last time I checked, putting Spiderman’s suit on didn’t give me the ability to climb walls (I bare the bruises as evidence) and I would imagine that Alex Ferguson would still be a grumpy old man even if he wore a Mimosa colored raincoat. Sigh. If only the ‘characteristics’ of a color could pass via osmosis to the wearer. Think of the possibilities. The Second World War could have been avoided if only Hitler’s Aunt had sent him a Mimosa Wooly hat for Christmas to keep him warm in Bavaria.

…Just for the record,  Mimosa reminds me of Mimosas, which remind me of getting drunk at wedding receptions, so I associate the color with drunk and disorderly debauchery. I’m positive Gap would sell more Tees if they advocated this interpretation.

Back to the concept itself, I can’t help but feel that it would have that bit more cache if it had stronger connotations of exclusivity. Why not introduce one item that is available in a dozen colors. Then, each month these colors could be retired, with a different item, available in a new set of a dozen colors, introduced in its place. Something tells me that this wouldn’t have the economies of scale to satisfy the insatiable financial appetite of a company like Gap. However, the potential buzz that the exclusivity would bring, could be useful in helping Gap reconnect with a generation of shoppers who no longer associate with the brand. A loss-leader of sorts, if you will.

Right, I’m off to find a color that has the characteristics of cynicism, bitterness, sacrcasm, pessimism and disappointment. That would suit me down to the ground…

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4 responses to “Be happy. Wear Mimosa this January.

  1. I think you need an eye test Dyl

    Mimosa has all of those characteristics.

    Just look at Mr Happy

    p.s you need a plugin to allow images to be embedded into your comments… my point would have been so much stronger with an image.

  2. Nah, try taupe or ecru. Even the names are a downer. Dylan, hast thou forsaken thine heritage and expensive education? It is spelled colour.

  3. Dear Sir, Re “Right, I’m off to find a color that has the characteristics of cynicism, bitterness, sacrcasm, pessimism and disappointment. That would suit me down to the ground…”

    I have sent you a poem about colour to brighten up your day!

    When your face
    appeared over my crumpled life
    at first I understood
    only the poverty of what I have.
    Then its particular light
    on woods, on rivers, on the sea
    became my beginning in the coloured world
    in which I had not yet had my beginning.
    I am so frightened, I am so frightened,
    of the unexpected sunrise finishing,
    of revelations
    and tears and the excitement finishing.
    I don’t fight it, my love is this fear,
    I nourish it who can nourish nothing,
    love’s shipshod watchman.
    Fear hems me in.
    I am conscious that these minutes are short
    and the colours in my eyes will vanish
    when your face sets.

    Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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