#TheDress: When Bad Lighting Trends Worldwide

One picture sparked the attention of millions of people across the world, sent high-magnitude debates from person to person, and created a hashtag trending worldwide, leaving everyone asking the same question:

Blue and Black or White and Gold?

It all started when the mother of the bride sent a picture to her daughter and son-in-law to be, an argument was sparked between the color of the dress she was going to wear to the wedding. They then sent it to their friends and still more arguments were made. No one could decide what color this dress was. This oh so special dress was even mentioned in the toast. And some people thought that was quite a fuss. Once it was posted on Twitter all the craziness was just beginning.

At first it seemed that it was just a picture of a dress on the internet. This one image went completely viral with millions and millions of people all over the world debating, arguing, agreeing or listening to opinions about the color of this dress. Even celebrities started getting excited about the unknown color of the dress.

What made this one picture go viral? Many people all over the internet post pictures of what they wear. Fashion blogs, beauty youtubers, even some of the richest, most high end fashion designers don’t get this kind of recognition. What was so special about this one dress? What was so special that Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian commented on a normal persons tweets? What is so special that a man got a tattoo of this with the  words “white and gold” on it? Why did everyone go so crazy about it?

Let’s start with the fact that this dress is an accidental optical allusion. Neuroscientists Bevil Conway and Jay Neitz have both looked into the perception of color and how that relates to the dress. This picture was crossing lines of human perception and was one of the most unique examples these scientists have ever seen. It depends on the lighting that you see it in and that reflects with the color of this dress. We are made to see color in daylight. The reflection of light in your retina is what causes you to see color the way you do. Your brain tries to comprehend the picture and depending on the illumination your brain will perceive the reflection of color as either white and gold or blue and black. So because of this (actually) awful lighting the reflection and perception changes the color of the dress depending on the way certain peoples eyes use light and see color.

Next, social media. What made this image go viral? Well, first of all when two people in the same room can’t agree on something that’s one story. But when people in Australia are arguing with someone in Greece or someone in America disagreeing with someone in Tokyo it’s a whole other situation. National or International issues happen all the time but often these problems are tragic, political or things that the average citizen doesn’t have a say in. But when a disagreement happens on a global scale, and is in no way affecting society or the way we live, who wouldn’t want to join in.

Yes, it was just a picture on the internet. Yet it created connections of science, fashion, humor and opinion to people all over the world. Lots of people might think of it that way but many people also think that the craziness over this picture was ridiculous or idiotic. Good things came out of it though. The brand that created this blue and black dress (Roman Originals) created a white and gold version and bid it on eBay. The money went to a charity called Comic Relief and helped lots of people.

I still can’t believe that so much fuss and bother went into this image of a dress. A striped, lace bodycon dress that just so happens to be…

Blue and Black.


Image from http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/RV-AP734_DRESS2_JV_20150227173256.jpg