When I told my dad that I would be taking part in the Color Run, he sent me the below picture and asked if this is what I was going to look like after the run. I laughed when I saw it.
Then I decided to look into what the picture was and soon learned that it was an image from the Holi Festival. Holi is the Hindu festival of colors, which takes place annually in India at the end of the winter season, on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. During the festival social rules are relaxed, as people on the street are free to spray each other with brightly colored paint. It is a day where pretty much anything goes.
I started to think about the impact that color can have on us and how this extreme use of color could serve as an inspiration to those in the fashion world. With the bright colors that are used throughout the festival, this could be the inspiration for a collection, or even ad campaign. I decided to do a bit of research and found that Wallpaper* magazine had actually used Holi as the inspiration for a feature that they were doing on fashion in India. I saw the video and observed how beautifully the colors complimented the clothes. It was really interesting to see.
As the festival continues to gain popularity, more people are getting involved in the celebrations, causing for a higher demand of paint to be available. Originally, the powdered paints used in this festival were made organically; mixing together plant based primary colors to create super exotic looking pigments. However, with increased popularity, the plants used for producing these colors are becoming more rare, forcing natural colors to be replaced with synthetic pigments. The powders are slowly becoming more toxic, sometimes causing irritation and inflammation when coming in contact with the skin. It’s sad that this is generally what happens with anything that has to be mass-produced. We have seen it with the dyes used in our clothing and now it is happening for a religious celebration of color and love. To me, it doesn’t seem right to be mixing the danger of these pigments with such a joyous celebration. There needs to be a better solution. Maybe other forms of natural paint, even if it isn’t in the form of the traditional powder? According to the Color Run website, the paints used during the run are natural and non-toxic. If they can do it, maybe Holi can too.
PS: It turns out that Holi is actually behind the influence for the Color Run, so I guess my dad wasn’t that far off.
By: Alessandra Trifero