Is Gen-Z Yellow Really a Thing or Just Media Hype?

Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about the buzzy new color dubbed “Gen-Z Yellow,” and I have to say I’ve been seeing it everywhere. Lately, my Instagram feed has been flooded with all things yellow. The same thing goes for pieces from designers hitting the new arrivals sections of my favorite retailers. It’s never a color I would think about wearing, but just last week, I added a buttercream yellow swimsuit into my wardrobe for the summer months ahead. All this has made me think: Is Gen-Z yellow really a thing or just media hype?

Curious to dig into this further, I consulted Katie Smith, the retail analysis and insights director at Edited. “Gen-Z Yellow is absolutely a thing,” she told Who What Wear. “It was one of the top 10 best-selling trends of Q1, which we wrote about yesterday. In fact, even though Pantone called Ultra Violet out as the color of the year, in Q1 2018, yellow items outsold purple.” Yes, it’s even winning out against purple—the color predicted to be the biggest color of 2018 and a shade we’ve seen all over the runways and the street style scene. So, it sounds like Gen-Z yellow is really more than just media hype after all and is here to stick around. Ahead she is breaking down just why Gen-Z Yellow is such a big trend right now.

Sales are growing by huge numbers

“Even though retailers only lifted their new yellow arrivals by 0.2% in the last three months (compared to the same period in 2017), sellouts of yellow grew 106%. This is a consumer-driven trend, which currently outstrips supply,” Smith says.

Why is Gen-Z gravitating toward the color?

“The color is connecting because younger consumers are favoring saturated palettes for vivid statements online. It’s a shade that has been pushed by the runway for the last couple of seasons. For the same reasons, we’ve seen bold red do well in recent seasons too. The current streetwear moment is adding fuel to yellow—it’s genderless, optimistic, and a statement,” Smith says.

Millennial Pink is trending down

“Millennial Pink was a huge merchandising trend—consumers are now used to seeing it every time they go on Instagram—but new pink arrivals declined by 17% in Q3 2017 versus Q1 2017, and it’s slowly phasing out, having reached saturation,” Smith says.

How to wear it

“While highlighter tones are selling well in street and sportswear, there are also canary, golden, and mustard tones coming through, which will suit a wider range of consumer complexions,” Smith says.

It was seen on the Fall 2018 runways

“Yellow will continue through into Fall 2018, with runway backing from Maison Margiela, Eckhaus Latta, Derek Lam, and Bottega Veneta,” Smith says.

Shop our favorite yellow pieces