Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is it blue or purple?

I showed a new Wesco Fabrics sample to an associate the other day. She said, “That is a gorgeous blue!” To my eyes it definitely had tones of purple. Who is correct? I say we both are. Some women may actually see 100 million colors while the average person may distinguish about 1 million different colors. It is more difficult for men as 8% of us have a color deficiency. I thought about colors and what forms our perceptions. Can we just blame it on our genetic wiring or are there other reasons for how we see things? Apart from whether one has X chromosomes, there are many factors that determine our sense of color. Our bias, perceptions, and beliefs, are magical stew formed by our unique family culture, region, education, travel, religion, and even political views. Colors evoke strong symbolism and meaning depending on where you live. In Eastern cultures the color white is symbolic of death while in other regions white represents purity, perfection, and marriage.

The red, white, and blue of our flag strongly evokes patriotism and pride.

The stained glass colors of the Sainte-Chapelle cathedral in Paris evoke a strong spiritual emotion for many people. This was King Louis IX private chapel built in the mid 13th century.

India is one of the most colorful countries especially during the Holi festival. Not only do people put colors on their face and hair, but they decorate elephants as well.

Theravada Buddhism, displayed in the temples of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma, are a riot of wonderful gold, red, blue, and green.

Every city is known for distinctive colors. Venice is especially colorful.

I love this picture of colorful houses on a Mexico City hillside. Each one displays the personality of it’s owner.

The roof tiles of a building in Beijing’s Forbidden City symbolize power and rank.

Being in the decorative fabric business has definitely been a very colorful journey! I know I obsess too much over the colors of fabrics I’m putting into the line, or the color of a shirt I want to buy, or how the layout of colors look on a salad I’m putting on a plate. I even have red tires on my bike! It can get crazy at times. While thinking about what to pack for a future trip, I remembered the old convention about not wearing white after Labor Day. Of course I’m going to pack some white jeans as I don’t think fashion meant for us to be so uptight, especially in 2010! And, by the way, that fabric definitely had purple in it!

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