It’s the technicoloured trend of 2022, but is there more to colourful fashion than meets the eye?
On the third Thursday of every month, the Old Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch, London, is infused with colour, pattern, and joy. And we’re not just talking about the treasures that can be found on the flea market stalls. Cue the regular gathering of vibrant spirits and creative souls – people who love, and live in, full, bold, bright, wonderful colours.
The Colour Walk, as it is today, has been led for the past five years by upcycling fashion designer Florent Bidois, and was inspired by the life and work of artist Sue Kreitzman, who could, be reliably found in her technicoloured glory each Thursday at the flea market.
“Sue is the constant inspiration behind the Colour Walk. To me, she is the face and I am the arms,” Florent explains. “In December 2016, I organised my first Colour Walk as we know it: a monthly gathering of creative people who love to dress up and love colour. “I have committed to organising it every month ever since, apart from a 16-month hiatus due to Covid. It’s about supporting the market, expressing ourselves, and just having fun.”
Here you will find a feast for the eyes, a multicoloured spread of prints, patterns, frills, and flare. Thrifted, crafted, savoured, and celebrated – below the kaleidoscopic surface, the Colour Walk is a safe space to express yourself as you truly are, and Florent shares that he’s often told about deep feelings of ‘belonging’ experienced by attendees. Here ‘Colour Walkers’ find their tribe, a supportive group of people who gather together to experiment with style and with colour.
While the Colour Walk is a concentrated culmination of self-expression, these days, more and more of us are beginning to add a bit of buzz into our everyday wardrobes – and if you’ve walked into any highstreet clothing store recently, you might have noticed the prevalence of a certain trend. Dubbed ‘dopamine dressing’, bright, bold colours, statement prints, colour blocking, and neon are all the rage in 2022, and retailers are chomping at the bit to deliver on our desire to infuse some joy into our lives. After all, following the hard times we’ve been through recently, it only makes sense.
But the idea of boosting our mood with colour and with fashion isn’t anything new. In 2012, a study from the University of Hertfordshire found that when participants wore clothes of symbolic value to them, their confidence increased. And, all the way back down the timeline, the emperor Charlemagne – born around AD740, near Liège in modern-day Belgium – wore red shoes at his coronation, as a symbol of his authority.
Colour has a huge impact on how we respond to the world around us (think marketing campaigns, and what the colours used are trying to get us to feel about their product), but they also do the same with how we relate to ourselves, and on what we tell others about the people we are. Momtaz Begum-Hossain is a colour theorist, author of Hello Rainbow: Finding Happiness in Colour, and also an attendee of the Colour Walk – who was, in her own words,