The Red Dress Effect theorises that people wearing red, particularly women, are more attractive to the opposite sex. With some observation, however, you could assume that the premise of the attraction to people in red is more about socialisation than it is about genetics. It matters because humans can unlearn & inherit new ways of thinking & henceforth seeing. Here are some perspectives on red relevant to the African person who may be drawn to red & wears it often. It is a narrative I deal with often as a Bantu African woman participating in the Western fashion world as we redefine our narrative by re-introducing African aesthetics & knowledge into the seams of a semi-Western existence.


The colour red is associated with spiritual awakening & healing as well as the vitality that comes with the latter.

“Red symbolises excitement, energy, passion, action & danger in Western cultures. In Asian cultures it respresents good luck , joy, prosperity & celebration.” – Tips & tutorials: Design Tips,


In Africa, red has varied symbolism across the diaspora but one of the most prominent is that red symbolises spirituality & spiritual awakening thus the colour also represents vitality & the good fortune connected to strong lineage.


The study of chakras suggests that when our red chakra is balanced our finances, family relationships & careers will flourish. To balance or heal your red chakra you ought to wear more red.


One thing you can conclude, whatever your cultural influence may be, is that red demands your visual attention & requires confidence to carry in spaces with other people. For this reason, it may make the wearer attractive to other confident people or people who seek confidence. It is also a warm & bright colour associated often, in the storytelling we know, with objects of desire like the rose & this combination may lend to it being a showstopper when adorned by a person.


With all we are learning, creating & unlearning through socialisation by globalisation; what is the future of our conversation around the effect the colours we wear & surround ourselves with have on our behaviour?

We will see.