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Colourblocking or colour riot??

Colourblocking is a controversial fashion trend all over the world. As some people see it as a fashion trend that should be accepted, some see it as insane. In Nigeria and some other parts of the world, it was formerly known as colour riot. Whether Colourblocking or colour riot, the question here is; Is it right to combine two or more seemingly contrasting colours?

We’ll start by going back in time to find out how the term came to be. In fall of 1965, Yves Saint Laurent unveiled to the fashion world the now-iconic “Mondrian” day dress. The woolen shift dress had rectangular blocks of yellow, white and red segmented by thick black lines. After that, when the dress appeared on the front pages of the ‘zines everywhere, the words ‘colour block’ were used to describe its aesthetic. The rest, as they say, is history.

Though the trend makes appearances on runways every other season, Colourblocking isn’t for the faint of heart. It is confusing especially for ladies who are fashion conscious and are always trying to avoid fashion mistakes. For ladies who have been contemplating on how to combine colours, here is an opportunity to learn how to reveal the fashionista in you without worrying about the colour combinations

Colourblocking is the art of demonstrating how seemingly clashing shades can coexist harmoniously and even elicit double takes on the streets.

Most African women are afraid of bright colours, either because they are worried that they won’t be figure flattering, they won’t work with their complexion, or that they won’t be age appropriate. Some women do wear one bright colour that complements their eye colour or skin tone, but many are afraid to wear more than one. If you don’t know where to start, allow me to take you back to your basic art class where you first heard of the ‘colour wheel’.

The colour wheel explains how colours evolve and some colours organically pair well with each other. First we have primary colours; red, yellow and blue. Mixing these colours in different combinations creates your secondary colours; green purple and orange. Lastly, your tertiary colours result from further mixing. Some colours innately pair well together. Analogous colours are three colours lined up on the colour wheel. Complementary colours are directly opposite one another on the colour wheel.

The most popular theory for combining colours is called the rule of two-thirds. How you achieve the rule of two-thirds starts by making an equilateral triangle (a triangle with 3 equal sides) on the colour wheel. In its most basic form, the points at the ends of this triangle will be touching either red-blue-yellow or orange-green-purple. From there, you pick two of the three colours that the triangle touches. These colours will harmonize together beautifully.

When colour blocking with 3 colours, my recommendation is to use 2 colours from the triangle you made earlier and combine that with a 3rd colour outside of it. For example, something like red-yellow-green or orange-green-blue works fine, you would just need to change the hue of one of the complimentary colours so you don’t end up with a clash. If you are feeling adventurous, you can start by trying out the above listed combinations.

*Analogous colours, which are any three colours lined up next to each other on the colour wheel. Example: blue, blue-violet and violet.
*Complementary colours. These are colours placed directly opposite each other on the wheel. Like red and green or yellow and violet.
*90 degree angles. Combine colours that are at a right angle with each other. Example: Orange-yellow and green or red and violet.
*T colours. These are colours that form a ‘T’ shape. Like yellow, purple and orange-red.
*Jewel Colours are equally rich and flatter each other, such as emerald green and ruby red.
*Keep colours in the same saturation. Pastels with pastels, neon with neon.
*Pink trick. You can substitute ‘pink’ for ‘red’ and use all the same combinations.

It’s best to leave your accessories in neutral colours. Colour blocking speaks volumes as it is, pairing this look with coloured accessories will throw the entire look off.

Don’t be shy to experiment. Any colour combination is fantastic if you can pull it off properly. Blue, green and orange sounds mad but will look very pretty. If you’re still a little colour shy, you can start off with a bright handbag, necklace, head band or belt.

Choose what you want to colour block and keep the rest of your look simple. For example, if you opt for a colour blocked bag, go easy on the clothes and shoes. You don’t want to look like a Rubik cube, do you? And never ever combine two colour blocked items. That is the worst thing to do to this trend. You will just end up looking confused. Check out pics of a few celebs who’ve nailed colour blocking:

However, do not combine more than three to four colours. It’s not that it doesn’t look nice, but you may end up looking like a clown. So, I guess I have cleared all your doubts about Colourblocking and revealed simple ways for you to go about it. Therefore, free the fashionista in you. Go into the streets and rock the trend!!