An eye for fashion

blueblackdress

Image source: swiked.tumblr.com/

This is the most famous dress on the internet today. More famous even than any hundred-thousand dollar dress worn to the Oscars last week.

Do you see it as ‘blue and black’ or ‘white and gold’? Whatever you see, you probably can’t imagine how anyone could see it differently.

This dress is a reminder that our perception of the world around us is not necessarily a perfect mirror of reality. Most of us have three groups of colour-sensitive cells that can detect ‘red’, ‘green’, and ‘blue’ light and convert this information into signals that our brains can interpret as colour. However, the colour that we perceive also depends on other factors such as the brightness of the image and the contrast with its surroundings. Together with innate differences in colour perception, this has divided us into two camps: those who see the dress as blue/black and those who see it as white/gold. Personally, I’ve tried looking at the dress in a variety of different lighting conditions, and I just can’t see the white and gold version. (FYI, apparently the dress is actually blue).

Do we all see the same colours anyway? Maybe we call them the same name, but is my ‘blue’ the same as your ‘blue’? Sure, you learnt what ‘blue’ was as a child, but if you could look through someone else’s eyes, perhaps you would see a sky of gold. Maybe that’s difficult to imagine, but then again, so is a white and gold dress…

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