Hot Hue: Driftwood

Driftwood is one of Pantone’s featured apparel hues for spring/summer 2012. Sleek and satiny, this revamped version of taupe oozes sophistication, whether applied to a corporate polo shirt, T-shirt or trench coat. Recently showcased by the likes of Calvin Klein and Chloé, this versatile hue is a shoo-in for success in both the retail and promotional markets. Mary Ellen Nichols, director of marketing and communications at UltraClub , commends driftwood for its numerous favorable attributes. “Driftwood conveys a feeling of solidarity, creating a warm sense of comfort and dependability,” she says. Its popularity in this market can be traced to the fact that brown “exudes a calming, relaxing effect on the wearer.” This is partly due its location on the neutral portion of the color spectrum, which is commonly associated with earthy hues. Nichols suggests that businesses consider driftwood when their clients want to show “stability, down-to-earth approachability or company unity.” Jennifer Tsai, vice president and lead designer of Tri-Mountain’s Lilac Bloom line, also heartily endorses the hue. “Driftwood is a great color for our industry because it has a nice, luxurious feel to it,” she says. “Our distributors and their end-users have told us they love the way driftwood makes their apparel appear more upscale.” Tsai also notes that driftwood’s “fine metallic sheen” is an asset because it adds depth and richness to garments. Finally, the understated poise of this color can’t be ignored. “Driftwood provides a stylish look without competing for attention,” Tsai says. She cites the corporate sector as driftwood’s most prevalent user, but asserts that “it has also been enthusiastically embraced in resorts, restaurants and the travel industry.”