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Pantone’s Classic Blue May Color Everything in 2020

The apparel and footwear industry is about to enter its blue period.

And according to Pantone Color Institute, so are home, beauty and consumer electronics.

Classic Blue, named the Color of the Year for 2020, represents the precipice of a new era set to be marked by an unease best treated with a calming color.

“The popularity of a color is symbolic of an age that we’re living in,” Pantone Color Institute vice president Laurie Pressman said in a webinar Friday. “We’re about to enter a new phase of this century, moving into a new decade…and we’re seeing these same feelings of trepidation and uneasiness” that marked the dawn of the aughts.

A blue with a red undertone that nods to “anticipation and excitement” where more traditional dark and navy blues don’t, Classic Blue instills a sense of confidence and connection, and it’s expected to play well with other colors and contemporary silhouettes in the seasons ahead.

“This is a universal color,” Pressman said. “It’s a genderless color…it’s a timeless color that can transcend the season.”

That staying power goes hand in hand with consumers who are quickly growing keener to keep their clothes longer and avoid the churn brought on by the fast-fashion fad. It also jives with the demand for greater sustainability and products that are more organic than chemically developed—something Classic Blue conveys.

“In our quest to reduce environmental impact, we are looking for materials and products that are organic and untreated,” Pressman said. “Reflective of indigo-bearing plants and dyes, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue plays into the consumer desire for natural ingredients and sustainability.”

The new year’s new hue, though it’s emblematic of heritage, is also “highly contemporary,” according to Pressman. It’s a more modern, more dynamic shade of blue that’s expected to act as an anchor in 2020 color palettes.

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“It’s almost neutral in this way because, again, we go back to something we are used to,” Pressman said.

Classic Blue, thanks to its versatility, will emerge in different fabrics, many with lustrous sheens, sparkling sequins and shimmering metallics. “It’s all about the versatility and it’s not just about flat color,” Pressman said.

Already, Louis Vuitton has embraced the color for a quilt-effect duffel, Nike has added it to sneakers and, on the runway, Classic Blue has appeared both in traditional structured silhouettes and more contemporary high-fashion styles. Home is getting a dose of the hue, too, with couches, accent chairs, shams and even kitchen cupboards colored with the shade of 2020. In beauty, hair dyes in blue have proved popular, as have lip and nail colors. In consumer electronics, headphones and other gadgets have called on Classic Blue, too.

“This is a color that we see that is most definitely of its time,” Pressman said. “It serves as an expression and a mood of consumers.”