Skip to main content

Artificial and Natural Colors Cohabitate in Pantone’s Fall/Winter 20-21 Forecast

Nest, and the calming feeling of being home, provides the framework for the PANTONEVIEW Color Planner forecast for Fall/Winter 20-21, which will be revealed at Apparel Textile Sourcing Miami May 28-30 at the Mana Wynwood Conference Center.

The forecast builds on the undercurrent of mindfulness, identity and acceptance which Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Color Institute, says has influenced lifestyles for the past five years.

With warm shades of brown and earthy mineral shades of blue and green, Nest captures the comforting feeling that consumers seek in a time when politics are polarizing, a destabilized climate is increasingly unpredictable, and a constant flow of information is dinging in the palm of their hands. Consumers, Pressman added, are looking to escape to their personal home no matter how they define it.

“We all have an idyllic way of looking at home,” she said. “It’s a refuge, a safe space, a place that helps you flourish and be ourselves.”

And the definition of home varies today, which is inciting newness. Home, Pressman said, doesn’t have to be confined to a physical place or destination. Families are blended units of relatives, friends, ethnicities and religious beliefs. And lifestyles are increasingly nomadic.

Each of these cultural shifts affects color stories for Fall/Winter 20-21, which Pressman described as a balance of “neon rich, saturated shades and strong, modern pastels combining with more muted, natural color from autumn coppers to arctic blacks.” Opposites are paired off, while texture and reflection alter the way colors are seen.

Related Stories

Here’s a sneak preview of Pressman’s forecast.

In a backlash to AI and robots, Pressman says people are looking for a human touch. Skin tones—from the palest pale to the darkest dark—add comfort and helps people connect with others, she described.

Brown plays a strong role for the season and move in three directions: warm and milky; bitter and cold; or inspired by nature. The color shifts into peach, orange and red-tinted hues. In fact, colors inspired by nature begin to blend and overlap. Camel evokes golden hues evocative of autumn leaves, Pressman described. Yellow begins to wane though those that remain add natural warmth, she said, while buttery ecru tones traditional in feeling are used in a contemporary manner, such as in contrast with neon.


Femininity is redefined, as awareness builds around new gender identities, as does the fear of making others feel uncomfortable or insulted. Soft pastels—which Pressman described as modern yet nostalgic—will have more saturation and bring empowerment and depth. Pinks continue to trend, but Pressman says they skew toward “human and cosmetic” colors, or become vivid, bright season-less shades of pink.


Greens tilt toward both a technical acid and a cooler, more mineral side. Khaki shades are quiet and desiccated, while seaweed greens become drier, Pressman described. Neon lives on as a companion to natural green and taupe.

Vintage Khaki
Vintage Khaki Courtesy

This fusion of artificial and natural color is coming up through the couture houses, Pressman said, and reflects how our online and offline lives are colliding. “The artificial colors are also a way to stand out in a digital world,” she added.