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Gender and the pink elephant in the room By Minna Attala

Some of my hairstyles during the pink years

I initially decided to choose pink as my project colour because it has been meaningful to me personally. For nine years I had pink hair and mainly wore pink clothes. It became part if my identity during my teen years and in my early twenties. I was a very girly and cartoony style of pink, which I still love in some ways, but I did grow out of it by the age of 22. That’s when I decided to go back to my natural hair colour and branch out into wearing other colours! Through my research of pink and it’s meanings I was really only attracted to one topic: gender. It’s something that baffles me as I don’t really consider colours as something which should have allocated genders, they are just colours. Obviously there are reasons for these cultural associations. Most interestingly, it is known that pink and blue used to have reversed gender associations. Pink was considered a diluted version of red (which, technically it is), and therefore was thought of as being a strong and masculine colour. Meanwhile, blue was for girls as it was considered softer. Following the Second World War, gender and equality became a current issue and it’s thought that this is when the gender associations of pink and blue were reversed, as some sort of way to address this issue. In recent years, pink has been taken on again in menswear collections. In 2009 the Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Givenchy menswear collections all featured pink suits. This use of pink in menswear has only been as passing trends though, and it’s never really become a colour, which is generally considered acceptable for the ‘average’ man to wear. I don’t think that this will be changing any time soon, so rather than designing a collection for men in pink, I have opted to design a unisex collection. I have taken my silhouette inspiration from drawings of stereotypically masculine items, such as cars and tools. The general style of the collection is influenced by contemporary and androgynous tailoring and boxy shapes, as this is something worn by both genders. It is aimed at the more fashion-conscious consumer, considering that the type of man who is happy to wear something pink (that’s not a casual t-shirt) is usually more of a ‘fashionable’ type, in this current society. My choice of fabric is linked with my sustainable theme as I have chosen to make my garment out of latex. If cared for properly, latex can last for a very long time. It is easy to clean and doesn’t require a lot of water or electricity to do so. The obvious things such as nicotine marks and some food can stain it and extreme heat can damage it, as with most fabrics, but the majority of the time it can be either wiped clean, or cleaned with very little water. It does require certain special care, in the same way you would care for a delicate silk, however, in terms of sustainability, a lot of resources can be spared in the maintenance of garments made of latex.

I have taken inspiration from designers such as Simone Rocha (and her use of boyish shapes and lace infused latex), and Michael Angel for his use of cut edged sheer white latex in his SS11 collection.

THe Pink and Blue Project By JeonMee Yoon Artist JeongMee Yoon has done a study of pink and blue colour and highlighted that little girls are conditioned to select things in pink and little boys are conditioned to select things in blue. She has made the point that the majority of toys and clothes made for little girls are now pink, and questioned whether this is down to girls actually wanting it or it simply being their only option. Pink was considered more masculine before world war two as it was thought of as a watered down version of ‘strong’ and ‘masculine’ red. After the war, political correctness surrounding gender equality became an issue and the two colours reversed roles. This, however, seems to have ended up in a role reversal too, with blue being considered the strong manly colour, and pink as the soft feminine colour.


Sustainability points: Natural sustainable material, which comes from the milky white fluid of the rubber tree. As it comes from a tree, it is from a renewable source. Uses less water and detergents to clean as the majority of the time it can be wiped clean, or gently washed in a shallow bath of water with a couple of drops of baby shampoo. Is bio can mould and degrade if exposed to moisture for long enough. Negatives: Some people suffer with latex allergies, so latex clothing may not be for everyone. Oils can degrade the material. It can be stained by coins and nicotine. Food will also stain light colours, as with fabric, however, the oils in food are more likely to cause damage. Latex garments must be kept in a cool, dry and dark place, so as to preserve them for as long as possible. Sources:

Men in Pink

Man Tools.

Fashion influences fashion influences fashion influences fashion influences fashion in

Michael Angel RST12

Prabal Gurung SS12

Simone Rocha AW12

Vijat Mohindra for Factice magazine

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I asked several car fans what the most masculine car is. Every one of them said the Mustang Shelby GT500. Some of them even said it in unison.


Customer Profile.

Age 18-30, male or female. Works in creative industries, most likely fashion. Is career driven. Urban living, probably lives in east London with friends. In touch with latest technologies - Has a blog and uses social networking. Enjoys going out with friends to hip bars and partying to the early hours. Keeps fit and healthy. Uses expensive, designer grooming products, but tries not to look too groomed. Is aware of the latest fashion trends and upcoming designers. Cares about new and innovative fashion and likes to buy exclusive and individual items from young, local brands.

Y fronts: not for girls

Design roughs

Semi transparent designs

Range Plan


Gender and the Pink Elephant in the Room  
Gender and the Pink Elephant in the Room  

A project on pink and gender.