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Colours in Fashion: vii. Green

  • Green is a secondary colour, a mixture of two primary colours, blue and yellow. It opposes the third primary colour red, on the colour wheel.

  • A teal green or turquoise contains more blue than yellow and a lime green, chartreuse or moss contains more yellow than blue.

  • Green is associated with emeralds, nature, leaves, trees, forests, jungles, grass, the outdoors, growth, nurture and health, but also disease and poison.

  • Originating from the ancient Indian Vedic texts, the chakras are used today in Vedic practices, such as yoga. Green symbolizes our heart chakra ‘Anahata.’ Located at the heart, the green chakra visually represents where our divine self and our human self meet and visually represents health and growth.

Woman wearing Green Outfit

  • Green was the favourite colour, along with white, of the Prophet Mohammed. In the Quran, the robes worn in paradise, amongst the trees, are the colour of green leaves. The colour appears in the flags of predominantly Islamic countries including Iran, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

  • In the Middle Ages of Europe, green was associated with the Springtime, when royal courts required its members to wear leafy crowns. It was associated with youth and young love. Think of Maid Marian from the English folk tale. More rurally, it was associated with fairies, goblins, witches and spirits of the woods and water, Satan and the Devil and the associated traits of jealousy, envy, poison, disease and death.

  • The development of copper arsenite pigments in the nineteenth Century may have unwittingly caused deaths in the customers who bought clothes and interior goods in Scheele's green and emerald green, as the dyes contained lethal doses of arsenic.

  • The suspicion of the colour may have led to the modern depiction of superheroes and extra-terrestrials as green; the colour evoking an alien or fantastical appearance. Think of Superman's kryptonite.

  • Since the 1970s, the environmental movement has used green to reflect the values of ecology and the preservation of nature. For example 'Greenpeace' was formed in 1972. In 1970s fashion and interiors, earthy colours, particularly avocado green were popular.

  • Earthy 'Terre Verte' dyes, khaki and olive green, have been used for their ability to camouflage and are associated with wartime. In the 2000s, khaki was used by Comme des Garcons, as part of the utilitarian fashion trend and continues to be used in streetwear and mainstream looks to this day.


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