A well inspired and ingenious usage of colors can generate a visually balanced output with an effect; pleasing to the eyes. Color blocking refers to the pattern of clothing in which two or more fabrics of complementing colors are sewn together in a creative way. Red and blue Spiderman costume is an apt example of color block outfits. The origin of color blocking dates back to the 60s, when it was popularized by the 'Mod Fashion'. This fashion culture ushered an innovative, bold and creative style of clothing that originally belonged to London. The British youth set the trend, which was later followed by the rest of the world. The muted pastel palette of the 60s fashion later transformed into bright, bold colors that were often applied in geometric patterns.
Colors in Milieu:
Nature's color palette is an assortment of hues; various blues and blacks of a seascape, lush greens of a jungle and hot, arresting reds. A skilled designer understands the subtle interactions of these hues and bonds them with layers of other colors to give an appealing look to the garment. A perfect assortment of different colors and various shades play an important role in defining the look of the finished outfit. Initially, blocks of square or rectangular pieces of clothing were sewn together. The 'Mondrian Dress' designed by late designer Yves Saint Laurent during the 60s consisted of flat planes revealing the artistic sensibility of that time. Later during the passage of time, color blocking has evolved into other geometric shapes and angular patterns in many vibrant colors.
Sewing the Color Palette:
Color blocking involves cutting the fabric along the line where the color change is required, and then adding a seam allowance to both the sides. When the pieces of fabric are sewn together, the final fabric is of the same size and shape as of the original piece, but with two or more complimenting hues. This type of pattern making is best suited for simple and bold designs as elaborated designs would require more seams and makes the process a complex one, and if the stitching is less accurate it would also affect the finishing of the garment. Order of construction is more important in these clothes, as sewing around sharp angles will be tedious. Color blocking is different from appliqué, wherein one shape is stitched onto another piece of fabric. Appliqué requires a lot of pinning, but is comparatively easier than color blocking. Similarly, it also varies from piping where a contrast color fabric is sewn into the seam in such a way that it protrudes visibly from the outside of the garment.
Color block apparels add a spirit of freshness to any attire, and grabs attention. Today's lifestyle calls for active apparels, and people wish to look more fashionable and presentable. These outfits have now become a fashion trend. Today's retail market seeks color block apparels with an overall effect added with flattering styles. Shades of bright orange, true red, key lime, alpine green, sky blue and hues of pink are in vogue. New color combinations are being introduced in the market every now and then to suit the changing preferences of the consumers. Latest fad is 'Tonal Color Blocking', which consists of a new dimension with a light and a dark shade from the same color palette.
Color blocked clothes add a graphic element to the appearance of an apparel. They give a magical effect to simple clothes and transform them into architectural pieces. Color blocking clothes can be rightly described as a 'Fashion Optical Illusion'.