BreakThroughColour

DRESS CODE

Tracy HolmesComment

I was going to call this post 'What Colour Is The Dress?' but I thought people might rush here expecting some re-boot of last year's double-coloured fashion debate, when Blue was White and Black was Gold. Actually, this is about a different kind of dress, and there's absolutely no debate about what colour it is.

To learn more, eavesdrop on excerpts from a recent email exchange between me and Australian artist and teacher Wendy Moore, who just spent the past two weeks 'playing cards' with the women of Sammunat Nepal...

Wendy at the head of the table wearing some sort of Cyan, and her students in made-to-match Magenta

Wendy at the head of the table wearing some sort of Cyan, and her students in made-to-match Magenta

Me: Hey Wendy, I am curious about the 'uniform' all the ladies are wearing... all the same colour. I can't tell exactly from the photos, but it looks to me like either 031 or 131, but probably something in between? Am I close?
Wendy: Ha! I will check this colour. I suspect it is a tone! The uniform was totally their decision. I loved how they used to arrive looking like a flock of vibrant birds in their varied kurtha surwals but they love having a uniform and being identified as part of Samunnat. One of the ladies got the fabric originally for the ladies in the Microfinance cooperative and then a bargain for a bulk lot was struck and twenty uniforms later we have a sea of 031 or 131! All of them have different styles and when we work on a Saturday (like when I am here or we have a big order) they wear mufti! 

Here are some photos taken almost exactly a year ago, when the women debuted their new dress code, Samunnat-style...

showing a serious side...

showing a serious side...

...and a not-so-serious Samunnat style

...and a not-so-serious Samunnat style

Back to this year, this week, when the email exchange resumed...

Wendy: Spot on! 131.
Me: Confirming 131, yes, you were right, it's a Tone! And a lovely one too. Magenta is a powerhouse primary on its own. Adding White lets the Hue shine through, but also adding a little Black takes it back in another way, because really, 030 would have been too bubblegum-and-Barbie. That bit of Black turns a little girl colour into something soft-but-sophisticated, right? I think this is so cool. Uniforms usually have a negative connotation, because more often that not, it's not our choice to wear them. I am thinking military, or awful mindless jobs, or school. . . 

It's no fun when someone tells you to "Wear this!" Not only do you end up looking (and feeling) costumed and cloned, chances are the fabric is itchy, it's not your colour (it's usually not anyone's colour) and the fit is Size D (for 'doesn't'). Instead, in their self-styled smocks, each woman here can design her own unique details, but is obviously still on Team Samunnat.

Here's a photo taken this week, with BTC 131 at the centre of this fashion-forward wheel, not just a colour in hand, but a cohesively colourful covering, head to toe...

If you want to take a closer look at the muted Magenta that is 131, you can. I abandoned the random and made it today's Card Per Diem.

Thank you to Wendy and Kopila for staging this 'team photo,' and for documenting the entire BTC breakthrough in Nepal with such meaningful words and important photos. And thank you to everyone at Samunnat for sharing your courage, enthusiasm, and wonder with the rest of the world.