Dopamine dressing: discover the trend that is encouraging us to live life in colour

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It’s the technicoloured trend of 2022, but is there more to colourful fashion than meets the eye?

Dopamine dressing: discover the trend that is encouraging us to live life in colour

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.”

Dopamine dressing: discover the trend that is encouraging us to live life in colour

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,

Off the grid: Anna Mathur on self-comparison and how to overcome it

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Psychotherapist, author, podcast host, and mum-of-three Anna Mathur shares how negative comparison can so easily creep into our lives, but with some self-compassion and awareness, we can see the bigger picture

Off the grid: Anna Mathur on self-comparison and how to overcome it

How many times have you found yourself scrolling through social media and sensing the crushing weight of comparison? You might be taking a five-minute break from work, while everyone else seems to be living their #bestlife, jetting off on holiday, or preparing homemade picnics for a blissful afternoon, while you’ve just spent the entire morning scrubbing porridge off the wall from a breakfast mishap.

It’s a universal truth that each and every one of us will fall foul of the comparison cloud at some point in our lives, as psychotherapist Anna Mathur explains on Happiful’s podcast, ‘I am. I have’. And she’s more than willing to share how it impacts her, too.

“Comparison turns up in so many different areas of my life,” she says. “It’s a constant dialogue I have to have with myself, and if I don’t it can just run riot!”

However, Anna is quick to explain that comparison is not a wholly negative behaviour.

“Comparison in and of itself is a self-protective force,” she notes. “Comparison can help us to judge if perhaps we could do something better; we might look at someone else’s situation and realise that there’s something we want to be doing, and it drives us forward and motivates us to go after that for ourselves, if it’s something positive.

“And if you look back to caveman days, comparison kept people safe then,” she continues. “You might have realised that you weren’t as strong as another person, so they would be the better bet for hunting and gathering. Comparison can be about assessing ability, so that everyone is using their strengths and resources in the best way.”

Thinking about comparison in this light could certainly help us to question why we are comparing, what we’re taking away from the act, and why it’s necessary for us in that moment. Curiosity around why a particular person’s situation makes us reflect upon our own life could lead to some insights as to how we’re coping, where we might feel stuck, want to grow, or indeed need help from others.

So, how do we determine when comparison is leading us to take stock of where we are and want to be, and when it’s simply become a stick to beat ourselves with?

“Comparison becomes problematic, and this is something I personally struggle with, when I use the difference between me and someone else to make a statement about myself,” Anna admits.

“Say I’ve had a really rough morning with the kids, and I’ve not responded in a way I feel particularly proud of, and then I go shopping and I see a mum being so incredibly patient with her toddler having a tantrum. What happens in my brain is very, very quick: ‘She’s a better mum than me. I’m a rubbish mum. I’m a failure.’

“In a split second, I’ve made two incredibly powerful statements about myself: being a rubbish mum, and a failure. Can you imagine going up to another woman and sayi