17th Mar 2017 - Style
So in Blue with You
Let’s dive down from the surface and then back
To a blue so deep that it’s almost black
The colour blue is as old as the sea and the sky themselves, and yet also relatively young; it is a rare occurrence in the natural world and because of that didn’t appear in the art works of ancient cultures or even warrant naming – neither the Greeks nor the Romans had a word for it. It was the Ancient Egyptians alone who discovered and prized lapis lazuli, a rare semi precious blue stone and by 2,500BC they had found a way to recreate the colour, creating the world’s first artificial pigment.
Since then, prohibitively expensive blue pigment – be it natural or artificial – became associated with royalty, religious icons, renaissance painters (it was said that Michelangelo could not always afford to use the colour blue in his paintings) and eventually the authority of the military (as nations tried to prop up their failing woad dying industries against Asian newcomer indigo by kitting their soldiers and sailors out in woad-dyed uniforms). As synthetic alternatives were developed, blue became more accessible - the "Prussian BLue" developed by a German chemist in 1709 was used by 19th century Japanese woodblock artist Hokusia in his wave paintings from which we drew the inspiration for our Riz wave print shorts.
In modern times, appearing as it does across national flags and having been adopted by international bodies such as the UN, blue's early scarcity and association with icons and authority means that it is frequently associated with peace, unity and virtue. In its natural setting it is calming, and associated with harmony. It commonly tops polls as people’s favourite colour, and we’d have to agree; after all, the colour of our logo is a deep turquoise. It’s Riz’s favourite colour, holding as it does so many shades and tones whilst still remaining “blue” and reminding us of the oceans that inspire us.