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WGSN and Coloro Pick Matcha, Rust, Plum and More for 2024

WGSN and sister company, Coloro, are building out the Fall/Winter 2024-2025 color palette. 

Joining Apricot Crush—their 2024 Color of the Year—is Intense Rust, Midnight Plum, Sustained Grey and Cool Matcha.      

Versatility is a key quality shared by all five—a factor that echoes WGSN’s recent efforts to promote seasonless themes that have longevity. “They really are able to take on different personalities according to the palettes that they work with and that is more important than ever,” Gemma Riberti, WGSN head of interiors, said about the colors during a webinar.

The colors, determined two years in advance, are the result of a workshop where various WGSN department heads layout their research and discuss the relevance of colors across industries. They consider what’s going on economically, politically, and environmentally, said Urangoo Samba, WGSN head of color.

The selection reflects the “caring economy,” which Samba said underscores the “fundamental importance of care for well-being, our communities and our economies.” Emotional understanding and empathy, she added, will be key consumer drivers in 2025, reflected in “restorative shades and mindful pastels” that offer a sense of calm and tranquility. 

New hospital designs are an example of this. Instead of designing for illness, Samba said healthcare design is refocusing its attention on wellness by adding colored walls to mental health facilities to help uplift patients and staff. Colors that have calming and positive attributes such as Apricot Crush and Cool Matcha, a soothing green pastel, provide this invigorating effect.

Colors that can move seamlessly between the digital and physical realms are increasingly important as people adapt to using online platforms for multiple purposes beyond socializing and shopping. TikTok, for example, has become a vehicle for entertainment and learning. Here, Samba pointed out that “highly stimulating hyper brights” and shades that reflect the need for creativity are key. 

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Reds and oranges are becoming as relevant as blues and greens for interiors, highlighting the draw toward warmer pigments and natural tans.

Riberti said Intense Rust, a color that borders orange, red and brown, has a premium feeling that works on metallized and lacquered finishes. In porous, matte textural treatments it becomes earthy, natural and grounding. 

Cool Matcha, “a perfect combination of vegetable green and mindful pastel,” serves as an update to the sage green that is currently trending across industries. “We’re seeing it in very pigmented [in] playful, dark dough-like finishes and for more elegant, airy and lightweight sheers,” Riberti said. 

Though purple has a reputation for being a difficult color to apply in interiors, Midnight Plum provides a deep, rich and layered solution for products as varied as toothbrushes, soft furnishings and paint, she added. 

Midnight Plum, however, may have the most to gain in fashion. 

“It’s really exciting when a tinted dark shade tries to battle for the stronghold that black and navy have built over decades,” said Graham Krag, WGSN senior strategist, fashion. “Midnight Plum strikes me as a perfect alternative to re-energize that area.”

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As a color rooted in intellectual themes such as space exploration, the metaverse and the gothic/underground sentiment, Midnight Plum is a sophisticated departure from the bloodstone and burgundy hues that fashion tends to resort to each fall for preppy, back-to-school deliveries. 

“It’s the perfect color for adding a dark dynamic field to classic prints and prints that will have a timeless appeal above the fast trend cycles,” Krag said. “It’s a powerful purple that will complement checks and varsity stripes and serve as the foundation for day to night wear as well.”

All five colors work as bases to prints and as elements in patterns, however. 

“Take Cool Matcha, for example. It’s perfect for creating serene botanicals and floral impressions, which is quite a big trend we’re tracking in women’s wear,” Krag said. “And it can carry over or even into the spring season so [it has] nice longevity as well.” He added that the color is particularly easy to connect with the broader palette of seasonal reds, blues, deeper greens, and yellows.

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Meanwhile, earthier colors like Apricot Crush and Intense Rust enrich retro themes that are often revisited for fall and winter seasons. WGSN is seeing these colors appear in artisanal watercolor tie-dyes and cleaner ombre effects that evoke the feeling of sunset hues. “Those [colors] add warmth to a collection, they’re gender inclusive, and they can span seasons,” he said. 

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The 2024 palette is unique in that it puts a neutral front and center. Samba said Sustained Gray confirms the continuing importance of neutrals and more sustainable color choices, representing practicality, reliability, and recyclability with a foundational and timeless appeal.  

Sustained Gray is an example of how designers’ perspectives about recycled materials are shifting. Instead of working to correct imperfections, they are embracing the materials’ so-called flaws to add character to their products. The neutral color embraces the material and the object for what it is without toxic dyeing.

“Waste will be one of the most important sources of color in the future and we see that industry innovators are harvesting waste to create new circular competent materials,” Samba said. “We expect industrial food and textiles waste to be the biggest source of recycled color in the future.”