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PANTONE nails fashion's mood with its Colour of the Year

Jane Boddy
06 December 2019

Pantone has named Classic Blue as its Colour of the Year for 2020. Here, global colour expert Jane Boddy explains why it's the perfect choice.

December is always an exciting time of the year. We have thanksgiving, the build up to Christmas, and then for those with an interest in Fashion and Design there is the annual release of the Pantone Colour of the Year.

There is always a huge buzz at its release, with everyone going crazy trying to get features out onto social media and online as fast as possible.

Love or hate the colours Pantone chooses each year, what its institute has done for the world of colour is incredible. I have worked in colour trends for the past decade and have seen the interest and commercial success of colour within product development grow and grow. The interest in the Pantone Colour of the Year has grown with it, at a global level, and I've seen its impact all across the world on my travels.

The Pantone Institute has been doing this every year since its first release being back in 1999. The whole selection process is distilled from a huge amount of global analysis which looks at what colours will impact on all the design industries.

Some interesting shifts have happened in the fashion industry over the past 18 months.

Whilst the big power colours are still super popular – e.g. electric pinks, yellows and oranges – beige has now become a huge fashion trend. This started out at luxury level and I saw plenty of fashion influencers wearing this at Fashion Week and the trend has now trickled down to high street level.

During my time at WGSN one of the biggest colour themes I predicted was the rise of the refined neutral. Classic Blue, PANTONE 19-4052 has taken the same journey.  I had seen the initial development of colours that were once seen as core have more sophistication within them, that was achieved with hints of other tones within these simple colours, such as the red tone that sits within Classic Blue and then bringing them to the forefront as an elegant fashion tones.


Classic Blue looks incredible worn head to toe as we have seen with beige. Classic Blue is the perfect partner for other refined classic tones such as camels or browns or even inky black. The hint of red within it also makes this the perfect base for igniting bright’s such as lime, yellows and pinks.

The functionality of Classic Blue PANTONE 19-4052 adds, in my opinion, to the underpinning story of this colour as being one that provides reassurance through its simplicity. Blue is a colour seen as trustworthy and dependable and of course timeless, Classic Blue references the sky.

My own research shows that indeed blue is the world's most trusted colour. I can see this colour being popular within 2020 and beyond as it hits many important topics as well such as trans seasonality, and it can be achieved using sustainable dyes such as indigo and natural plant dyes that are again important ongoing topic’s and challenges within the fashion industry.

Jane Boddy has been a trend forecaster and fashion designer for more than 20 years following an international design career in the luxury and mass market sectors across fashion and interiors. Previously a director WGSN managing colour, womenswear, beauty and swim and intimates, she was also director of the future forecast at StyleSight, responsible for all its future focused forecasting. She now has her own consultancy at

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